Everything in the Mystical Body of
Jesus, that is, the Church, cries out with joy,
ALLELUIA! The Lord is risen, ALLELUIA.
We are so familiar with the Easter story that it’s easy to miss the reality of the Resurrection, especially as it pertains to us as individuals. Here is what strikes me as I hear the story of the ‘first responders’ according to St John, 20:1-9.
‘Mary Magdalen came to the tomb early, while it was still dark,’ on the third day after the terrible day of the death of Jesus. She had been at the foot of the cross as He hung in torment, had heard His words and experienced the moment of His last breath. If you’ve ever been at the bedside of someone you loved deeply when that last moment of life became the first moment of death, you know the feeling—one can never forget the sense of finality, of loss that washes over the human heart at the realization that it’s all over. Your heart experiences an emotion that can’t be described. Mary would never forget her absolute agony at the death of the One who had saved her from the death of sin.
Now, on what we know as Easter Sunday, she sees the stone, the immense stone, rolled away from the tomb and presumes that the Body of Jesus has been removed and ‘taken to an undisclosed location’ (the local news outlet might have reported from her description). I know if I came to visit the new grave of my loved one and discovered the same thing…no words could adequately describe that second loss….
Mary Magdalen and the disciples had heard Jesus say He would ‘rise from the dead’ but they could not have comprehended what He meant. Even at this moment Mary only knew her grief upon grief, and ran to the Apostles to tell them what she ‘knew.’ Imagine…. Only later, on her second visit to the tomb would she come to know the mystery of His resurrection—and then only because she would hear His voice and see His face in risen glory.
What is our reaction to the Resurrection story.
What might be our experience?
I think most have us have felt the ‘loss’ of Jesus in our lives. You know what I mean— we just can’t experience His presence, or understand why He permitted some shattering event. We are devastated by the distance we experience from God Who was once so closer to us. Perhaps we might be experiencing that now. There is nothing to be compared with the apparent absence of God in our lives.
But there was hope for Mary, and there is hope for us. The Resurrection is the promise of hope. She would find Him again—or better said, she would be found by Him. In just a few verses later Jesus will appear to her and she will recognize Him when He calls her by name. We will hear that story read at Mass in a few days (John 20:16).
We experience the loss of the sense of God’s presence in our lives, and then He ‘returns.’ It’s the way He seems to do things: our spiritual life ebbs and flows; we know Him, we don’t understand Him; He is close to us, we are far from Him; He dies, He rises. Today, when it’s possible that the words of the Resurrection account are so familiar that we nearly miss them, let us pause to consider this: when we think we have lost sight of our God, that the meaning of our lives seems stolen away by a power greater than our own, there is Hope,
and His Name is the Risen Jesus.
Have a wondrous, blessed Easter.