The latest buzz word the past few months is ‘fake news’. Just a few days ago, Facebook had announced its crusade to stop fake news stories. The social media giant gave ten tips how to spot fake news.
Today we ponder the question, ‘Is the resurrection of Jesus from the dead fake news or good news?’ After all, as St. Paul says, “if Christ has not been raised, then empty (too) is our preaching; empty, too, your faith” (1 Cor. 15:14). To examine this question, we will use the ten tips that Facebook has given us.
- Be skeptical of headlines. Oh yes, Thomas was skeptical of the news from his close friends but upon seeing our Lord he cried out, “My Lord and my God” (Jn. 20:28). Our Lord told the doubting Thomas, “Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”
- Look closely at the URL. If you are like me, you are asking, ‘what is a URL?’ It stands for Under Roman Law. That’s right, under Roman law, capital punishment was the cross. Jesus suffered under Pontius Pilate (see CCC 571-573).
- Investigate the source. The risen Jesus appears first to women who in those days were not considered credible sources. That is precisely the plan of God, He uses the lowly to proclaim His message. Look at the magnificat of Mary (Luke 1:46-55).
- Watch for unusual formatting. Yes it is a little unusual that the risen Lord is radiant and able to pass through locked doors and appear and disappear in front of the disciples. However, He is no ghost the Apostles were able to eat with Him and touch Him. This newly resurrected body is unusual but His form, that is to say, His body is still there.
- Consider the image. Adam was made in the image of God but death had distorted that image. Jesus who is the new Adam restores mankind’s image of God in the soul. “Jesus is the image of the invisible God…all were created through Him, all were created for Him (Col. 1:15).
- Inspect the dates. The date can give any fake away. The day that our Lord died was connected to the date of Passover (14th of Nissan), when a lamb was destroyed in memorial of the deliverance from the angel of death (Exodus 12). He once predicted, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up…. He was speaking about the temple of His body” (Jn. 2:19).
- Check the evidence. The empty tomb is a good starting place for evidence that the Resurrection is not fake news. To give further evidence, our Lord left behind Him the burial shroud (Jn. 20:7) in which you can see in the city of Turin, Italy today. Furthermore, one could travel to Oviedo, Spain to find the garment wrapped around the head of Jesus (Jn. 20:7).
- Look for other reports. St. Paul has this one covered to debunk any fake news. He wrote, “Jesus was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom are still alive. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me” (1 Cor. 15).
- Is the story a joke? The Romans mocked and jokes at Jesus, just as Job wrote, “The just, the perfect mans is a laughing stock” (Job 12:4). However, one of the beatitudes says, “Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh” (Lk. 6:21). At the resurrection of her Son, Mary had the last laugh.
- Some stories are intentionally false. Ask yourself this question, ‘would you die for a lie?’ Neither would I. All of the apostles, except Saint John, died as martyrs for the truth of the resurrection. If the resurrection was fake news. Not only their preaching or faith but their very lives would be in vain.
Pope Benedict wrote in Jesus of Nazareth, “The Christian faith stands or falls with the truth of the testimony that Christ is risen from the dead”. Brothers and sister in Christ, there is an empty tomb in Jerusalem today, not because it is fake news but because it is Good News, the Gospel. May we be living witnesses of the Resurrection and share this Good News to all this Easter!