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 Ernest Miller, FSC
Readings: Acts 10: 34a, 37-43; Corinthians 5: 6b-8; John 20-1-9
Giving glory and honor to God for the great Feast of Easter.
We have been carried through the womb of Lent up to Jerusalem, then born into the Triduum, the celebration of the paschal mystery, and then in the holy darkness of the Easter Vigil, the sanctifying power of the night dispels wickedness, washes faults away, brings joy to mourners, drives out hatred, fosters concord, and brings down the mighty.
Easter is the pinnacle of Christian faith, it is the sign and source of Christian life, the zenith of God’s saving action in the world. Yet, let us not forget that the joy of Easter does not come without the paradox of the cross, the faithful cross on which the saints rely.
Karl Rahner reminds us, “[W]e are always under the cross.”
As we meditate on God’s word for Easter, the “Feast of Feasts”, the “Solemnity of Solemnities”, we find ourselves standing between the Resurrection and Pentecost, standing between the empty tomb first witnessed by Mary Magdalene and the gifting of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.
“We are witnesses” is a constant theme that permeates the Easter scriptural literature. The Acts of the Apostles tells us we are “the witnesses chosen by God in advance…to preach to the people and testify” that Jesus “went about doing good and healing all those oppressed….” In the first Letter to the Corinthians, Paul urges us to clear out the old yeast so that we “may become a fresh batch of dough” for the sake of the reign of God on earth.
“Easter is not just an ancient oddity,” asserts Walter Brueggemann. “Easter is an unsettling way in the world that continues to have socioeconomic, political, and human implications. Easter is…a surging of power that touches all of life.”
Easter summons us to question whether you can permit in your horizon, in your circle, in your sphere of influence new healing power, new surging possibilities, new gestures to the lame, new ways of power—of witnessing—in a fearful world, dancing, singing, praising God’s wonder-working power beyond all our powers of control and manipulation.
To become masters of an Easter orientation, to become an Easter witness, let us practice discipleship that requires stepping in love, stepping in hope, and stepping in justice.
This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad.
Thanks, Ernest, for the inspiring thoughts regarding faith, service and community. Happy Easter!!