This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Luke 24:34
Brightness of God’s glory,
whom death could not conquer nor the tomb
imprison: as you have shared our frailty
in human flesh, help us to share your
immortality in the Spirit;
let no shadow of the grave terrify us,
and no fear of darkness turn our hearts from you.
Reveal yourself to us this day and all our days,
as the First and the Last,
the Living One,
our immortal Saviour and Lord. Amen.
- Acts 10:34-43
- Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24
- 1 Corinthians 15:1-11
- John 20:1-18
- Acts 4:32-37
- Psalm 133
- 1 John 1:1-2:2
- John 20:19-31
A Thought to Ponder
Easter Day – John 20:1-18
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.”
John’s Easter Gospel says nothing of earthquakes or angels. His account begins before daybreak.
It was believed that the spirit of the deceased hovered around the tomb for three days after burial; Mary Magdalene was therefore following the Jewish custom of visiting the tomb during this three-day period. Discovering the stone has been moved away, Mary Magdalene runs to tell Peter and the others. Peter and the “other disciple” race to get there and look inside.
Note the different reactions of the three: Mary Magdalene fears someone has “taken” Jesus’ body; Peter does not know what to make of the news; but the “other” disciple – the model of faithful discernment in John’s Gospel – immediately understands what has taken place. So great are the disciple’s love and depth of faith that all of the strange remarks and dark references of Jesus now become clear to him.
While the Easter mystery does not deny the reality of suffering and pain, it does proclaim reason for hope in the human condition. The empty tomb of Christ trumpets the ultimate Alleluia:that love, compassion, generosity, humility and selflessness will ultimately triumph over hatred, bigotry, prejudice, despair, greed and death. The Easter miracle enables us, even in the most difficult and desperate of times, to live our lives in hopeful certainty of the fulfillment of the resurrection at the end of our life’s journey.
The Risen Christ is present to us in the faithful witness of every good person who shares the good news of the resurrection into this life of ours: to rise above life’s sufferings and pain to give love and life to others, to renew and re-create our relationships with others, to proclaim the Gospel of the empty tomb.
The empty tomb of Easter morning is God’s vindication of his Son’s life among us: that no tomb can contain the mercy and hope of God. The Christ who challenged us to love one another is risen and walks among us! All that he taught – compassion, love, forgiveness, reconciliation, sincerity, selflessness for the sake of others – is vindicated and affirmed if he is truly risen. The empty tomb should not only console us and elate us, it should challenge us to embrace the life of the Gospel. With Easter faith, we can awaken the promise of the empty tomb in every place and moment we encounter on our journey through this life.
Easter is about resurrection — not just resuscitation, not just about coming back from the brink, not just about bouncing back from a difficult situation, not just about a near miss when we’ve been spared the worst that can happen. In fact, the pre-requisite for resurrection is that the worst — devastating loss and death — happens. And we are changed by the experience.
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