In the Gospel for today we see that Jesus has risen. The first person to whom He announces the good news is Mary Magdalen. She goes to the eleven Apostles and tells them, but they do not believe her. Then Jesus appears to two men who are walking to Emmaus. They return to Jerusalem to tell the eleven Apostles, but they are not believed. Finally Jesus appears to the Apostles and criticizes them for their “hardness of heart” and their failure to believe. After all, He had told them on numerous occasions that He would be put to death but would rise again.
Some say that Mary was not believed because she was a woman. But the two disciples were also not believed – and they were men. It is easy to question why they were not believed or to criticize them, but the Apostles behavior is all to human. We have heard of Jesus rising from the dead for two thousand years. When He rose, no one had done it before – and no one since. So to the Apostles, who had (in some form or another) witnessed Jesus execution, it would be understandable to be skeptical. Everything they had always believed was called into question. Death was final, but here was a man who was back from the dead. How could it be? He had cured the sick, cast out demons, raised several from the dead, calmed the seas and provided food for thousands – but all of that was when He was alive. But after He died, how could He raise Himself – unless He was who He claimed to be.