Mary of Magdala comes to the tomb during the early hours of morning while it is still dark and finds the stone rolled away. She runs to Peter and John to share with them the news, that: “They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they put him” (Jn 20:2). Peter and John retrace the steps of Mary at the same running pace and find the tomb empty as well. All three are stunned because, “they did not yet understand the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead” (Jn 20:9).
How can we blame them? Do we fully understand the reality and fact that Jesus has risen from the dead? One explanation, that Jesus did not really die and woke up three days later, aching all over from the excruciating effects of the crucifixion is not true. Nor was his rising a mere resuscitation as happened with Lazarus, as I shared in yesterday’s reflection. Jesus, fully God and fully man died, entered death, and conquered it. In so doing he entered into a new life, a new reality. Jesus, in beginning his new life, was transfigured from the three dimensional reality that we all know and experience, such that he now resonates in a higher dimensional reality. Jesus is the first born of the new creation!
All of human history changed in that tomb because of this new fact of the resurrection of Jesus. How this has happened is indeed a mystery, but in our seeking understanding, we will fall short and be frustrated if we only approach the mystery of God in the same way that we tackle a problem to be solved. The Apostles and disciples of Jesus struggled to find meaning and understanding about how Jesus crucified was now gone from the tomb. They came to understand the Mystery of the Resurrection, as they would the mystery of the fact that Jesus is fully human and fully divine, they encountered Jesus again. The Mystery of the Resurrection is not a problem to be solved, but a person to encounter, a relationship to embrace, for the Apostle and for us.
Faith seeking understanding is grounded in having an encounter with a person, Jesus the Christ, the Son of the Living God. Pope Francis writes: “The joy of the Gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus. Those who accept his offer of salvation are set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness and loneliness” (Francis, 9).
May we renew our baptismal vows today, let us renew our commitment to give our lives to Jesus who is the Christ, who has truly risen – Alleluia, Alleluia!!! We are an alleluia people, meaning even in our trials, our temptations, conflict, and pain, we are a people endowed with hope, because not only have we been loved into existence, we have been loved into the promise for eternity!
May you all have a blessed and joyous Easter Sunday and Easter Season. May God bless and infuse you and all you hold in your heart with a soul on fire with his Love and Joy this day, and all days into eternity! Alleluia! Alleluia!