Gospel John 20:1-9

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.

Reflection by Brother Dennis Lee, FSC – Visitor


Br. Dennis Lee, FSC

We have spent Lent, aware that Jesus is risen, and yet we have once again, as we do each year liturgically, anticipated that resurrection. So on this Easter, we now again sing that stirring anthem, “Jesus Christ is risen today. Alleluia. Our triumphant holy day. Alleluia.”

After John and Peter ran to the tomb, the evangelist says that “they did not yet understand the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead.” Indeed, one of the joys of our faith is our own attempt to understand the Scripture. And surely there is no more central mystery than the Resurrection. Just imagine how different life would be, had Jesus not risen from the dead!

What an incredibly happy consolation to believe and to know that Jesus is alive: alive in our hearts and alive in the actions of countless citizens of our one earth. Hopefully, our Lenten journey has slowed us down so that we are noticing the many manifestations of Jesus in our transforming world, be it the March for our Lives movement, refugees being cared for by Lasallians, the incredible response to our Twinning activities, or the simple attention to students who feel alienated for whatever reason. Jesus is very much alive and well.

People of any age may be intrigued by the afterlife. Those of a certain age may hearken to two very interesting, inquisitive, vintage songs: “What’s It All About, Alfie?’ and Peggy Lee’s iconic, “Is That All There Is?” The follow up question to Alfie is, “Is it just for the moment we live?” We definitely need to be fully immersed in the present moment, but our celebration of Easter is an opportunity to wonder about the afterlife.

In his column. “Of Many Things,” in the March 19 issue of America magazine, Matt Malone, SJ, shares beautifully about a nonagenarian, Bernice, whom he had met and who impressed Matt as a person with deep faith, who was full of joy because she knew Jesus. He is led to this insight, “The great enemy of faith is actually fear. It is the fear, known or unknown, that this world is ultimately all there is, that there is no life beyond here and now.” I guess Matt gets Peggy Lee’s question.

On this joyous Easter day, let us all embrace our current moment. And as we reflect on what God has done through Jesus’ resurrection, let us take to heart those immortal words, spoken on the cross by Jesus to the repentant thief, “Today you will be with me in paradise.” On this earth, we will never know exactly what that paradise consists of, but let us be confident and reassured, both for our deceased loved ones now, and eventually for ourselves, that life after this life does indeed exist. Alleluia.