April 1, 2018: Easter Sunday
Reading: John 20: 2-3; 9
So [Mary of Magdala] ran to Simon Peter and 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.” … Simon and John left and both ran … “For [the close] friends of Jesus did not yet understand the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead.”
A sense of urgency pervades this Easter Gospel. Mary and Simon and John ran … they have taken him … we don’t know where they put him — did not yet understand he had to rise from the dead.
Why the urgency caused by the empty tomb? Perhaps it is because the friends of Jesus were exhausted by grief, keenly aware of the absence of Jesus — an absence they believed was unalterable.
After all, the day before this Sabbath experience, Mary and Simon and John had witnessed Jesus being tortured, hung on a cross and dying an agonizing death. All of them had seen the dead Jesus placed in a tomb. What they had hoped from Jesus was over. The end of a life changing experience — it seemed.
I imagine, that on the Sabbath morning described in the Gospel, these friends of Jesus felt that same emptiness, sadness, questions of “why?” we all feel after the death of a loved one.
How wonderful to find that empty tomb! Could they dare believe that the death of Jesus had not ended the way it seemed? Could they dare to hope they would see Jesus again?
Like those dear friends of Jesus, let’s get in touch with that sense of urgency, with that desire to recognize, if not understand, that Jesus conquered death. Let’s try — yet again — to find new life in that often difficult and frustrating decision to love ourselves and love others. Love, after all, remains the core message of Easter.