Sunday, April 12, 2009
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.
Rev. Louis Manzo, C.S.C. '62
Mary came to the tomb before daybreak. Like her, we come to Easter in the night, for we still live in the gloom of a fallen world, the darkness of evil, confusion, and sin. We come to Easter as people condemned to death and destruction. The gaping tomb forces upon us a truth from which we try to distract ourselves, that our lives are limited and our end inevitable. Mary was at least sure of one thing, that everyone dies, that Jesus had died, and that, if his body was gone, someone must have taken it.
Easter is not simply a cozy feast to joyfully sing hymns about Jesus' resurrection. It is the ground zero of our faith when we look into the crater of death and recognize its destructive power, a force that will inevitably be turned upon us.
But at Easter we also celebrate our baptism into the mystery of Jesus, into his destiny of death but also of rising. Like the apostles, we still do not really understand all this, for if we did, our lives would be transformed by the light of the Risen Sun. So we pray for the revelation that was finally given to Mary and the apostles, the grace to recognize the resurrected Lord and to believe that we share in his risen life. In the end we know that such faith and understanding can come only as divine grace, and that this is the real Easter gift we ask of God.