April 16, 2017: Easter Sunday
On the first day of the week, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning, while it was still dark, and saw the stone removed from the tomb.
So she ran and went to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them, “They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they put him.”
So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb.
They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter and arrived at the tomb first; he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in.
When Simon Peter arrived after him, he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there, and the cloth that had covered his head, not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place.
Then the other disciple also went in, the one who had arrived at the tomb first, and he saw and believed. For they did not yet understand the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead. (John 20:1-9)
There are so many musical pieces entitled, “Dawn.”
Perhaps you could find a favorite and play it as you reflect on this early morning story. Music can touch depths in us; its power can help create wordless prayer.
Mary of Magdala sets out before dawn to go to Jesus’ tomb. Her searching, yearning heart can speak to your heart about the pain of watching Jesus die and the hope, however fragile, of something new this Easter.
Pay attention to Mary, notice when she sees the stone rolled back and the tomb standing empty, at that moment she wants others with her, is it fear? Or some glimmer of hope?
Notice what she says to Peter and John. The details about the inside of the tomb sound like they were written by an eyewitness, a very confused eyewitness. Even though these words were not written down until years after that Easter morning you can almost hear the struggle to put on paper the joy, the unbelief, the indisputable truth that Jesus had indeed risen from the dead!
Get your journal out and try this meditation that Saint Ignatius of Loyola suggests for the meditation on Easter in the Spiritual Exercises: imagine Jesus meeting with his mother Mary.
Ignatius, that great believer in using imagination in prayer, says he cannot imagine that Jesus did not go first to his mother. Since there is nothing in the gospel stories, we are free to set the scene, hear our version of their dialogue, sense their joy. Write it down and keep it for the day you are discouraged.