First Reading: Acts 2:14, 22-33
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 16
Gospel: Matthew 28:8-15
While they were going, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests all that had happened. The chief priests assembled with the elders and took counsel; then they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, telling them, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came by night and stole him while we were asleep.’ And if this gets to the ears of the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” The soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has circulated among the Jews to the present day. (Mt 28:11-15)
In today's gospel, we have the chief priests and elders, fresh off of their crucifixion of our Lord, being faced with a decision. Now let's be clear, the guards told them exactly what has happened, wouldn't you think that this would make them believe in Jesus and realize their error? No, instead of believing in Jesus and repenting for their sins, they decide to cover the whole thing up.
What we see developing here is a bad pattern developing: sin leads to more sin. The scribes and pharisees of the time were already guilty of many sins such as; pride, paying more attention to human tradition than God's law, submitting to the authority of Caesar rather than the Lord's, laying a heavy burden on the people, and worrying about their own power and position. And what these sins led to was more sins, in fact by giving into their sins they ended up committing such a grave and horrible sin, having Christ the Lord crucified. Unfortunately they are in over their heads and caught in such a vicious cycle, that they are now led them to commit more sin, such as lying and covering up the truth about the resurrection. Not only did they lie about this, but by lying and circulating their story they prevented others from the truth and from the saving grace of Jesus.
One thing that we must understand is that giving into sin only leads to more sin. Some people think that if they just give in to little urges or desires that they will be satisfied and no longer sin, but they don't get satisfied, in fact it only makes their urges stronger. If we are struggling with sin, we must ask the Holy Spirit to gives us courage and strength to overcome it, because it is only with God's help that we can break free from sin that seeks to tie us down. If we rely on the power of the Holy Spirit, rather than our own power, then we will be free to be the men and women of God that we were created to be.
Sin only leads to a vicious cycle in our lives; but by the resurrection we now have a great hope that can help us over come this dangerous pattern. All praise and glory be to Him!
Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, thank you for all that you have blessed us with, and for all that you do. Lord, help us to avoid sin and to only submit to you. Lord, we pray for an increase in the virtues of courage, temperance and fortitude; so that we might persevere mightily for your glory. We pray for all of our priests and religious, that they may be strengthened in their ministries and in their vows. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.