Today's Reading: Matthew 27:45-56
The new stage of history began at the very moment of Jesus’ death, as Matthew showed with the events that occurred immediately thereafter. Jesus’ death accomplished the very thing that Judaism looked for with the coming of the Messiah the new era of the reign of God, when he promised to shake the earth and raise up his holy ones. Our salvation and renewal began when Jesus died on the cross. Yet, God’s chosen people – even Jesus’ own disciples – missed its inauguration. Once again, it was a group of outsiders, the Roman soldiers, who readily accepted the cross and the signs of transformation that accompanied it.
By telling the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection as he did, Matthew sought to hold out hope to a community undergoing tremendous pressures from inside and out. On a personal level, we all experience struggles: the pain of rejection, the challenge to do God’s will in the face of opposition, the sorrow of apparent failures that face us every day. Like Matthew’s community, we, too, can learn that not every obstacle comes from outside of ourselves: “The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak”. Growth and renewal come at a price: opening ourselves to be shaken up and allowing the Spirit to breathe life into us.