Gospel—John 20; 1-9
The Gospel for Easter Sunday tells of Mary Magdalene finding the tomb empty and running to the apostles to tell them, “They have taken the Lord from the tomb….” It is a Gospel that begins in the pre-dawn darkness with Mary Magdalene going to Jesus’ tomb as a mourner. She then becomes upset and is seemingly panicking because the tomb is empty and her first thought is that someone took the body of Jesus. Finally when she returns to the tomb with Peter and John and they enter into it, she along with Peter and John, understand, Jesus is Risen.
We hear of the Resurrection not only on Easter Sunday but also throughout the Easter Season. It’s important for us to realize that when the tomb was discovered to be empty the immediate response was not that of the Halleluiah Chorus. They were still mourning and the intensity of their sadness blurred the glory that was before them. When the glory of the Risen Lord finally tore through the sadness, they recognized the Risen Lord, and that was when the shouts of Alleluia came forth from them.
We have just completed Lent and now begin our celebration of Easter. Our journey might have led us through moments of sorrow as we took a closer look at our lives and became more aware of things we need to change, and we might even have experienced moments of disappointment as our plans for personal renewal didn’t always work out. Lent is now behind us, and it’s time for us allow the beautiful presence of our Risen Lord to break through anything in our lives that stands in the way and fill us with joy. For the disciples and apostles Easter was a new beginning. They began to understand the fuller meaning of many of the teachings and miracles of Jesus. The Risen Lord spent forty days with them during which they grew in faith, hope and love. At the time of his Ascension he told them to wait and pray in Jerusalem. They did and on the tenth day they experienced the power of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost.
It would benefit us if we were to avoid the tendency of looking at Easter as merely the end of Lent, rather may we see it as a new beginning in our journey of faith. It is a time for us to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus and his continued presence in our lives. We have forty days until Ascension Thursday and fifty days to Pentecost. These two celebrations are days that we should look forward to and be driven to by the joy of Easter. As we continue to hear Alleluia in songs, antiphons and refrains allow them to echo within us. The Easter Season is a season of blessing for us to celebrate with joy all that we come through during Lent and the newness in our lives that begins at Easter.
The grace of the Easter Season can remove sadness from our hearts, doubts from our minds and complacency from our souls. It is a grace that can replace these with joy, renewed faith and a new zeal. The blessings of this season are being poured out on us, all we need do is to open ourselves to receive them and stake claim on the power of the Risen Lord in our Loves today. We are loved by God and embracing the Risen Lord is accepting this love. May we experience the love and joy of the Risen Lord and cry out in our hearts and with our voices, “Alleluia! Jesus is Risen.”
Father Killian Loch, O.S.B.