John 20, 1-9
Pope Francis in his Apostolic Exhortation, ‘The Joy of the Gospel’, states, “There are Christians whose lives seems like Lent without Easter”. Are we that?
Today we celebrate Easter Sunday but in the gospel for today, it seems that disciples are more confused than joyful.
On that first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb of Jesus. Perhaps she went there to continue the process of embalming Jesus’ body before it began to rot. We have to remember that after Jesus died, it was already late in the afternoon and they had to hurriedly embalm his body as Passover was nearing, so Mary Magdalene went back to the tomb, perhaps to finish the work. However, what she saw was that the stone was removed. Without thinking much, she concluded that Jesus’ body was taken away and she hurriedly reported that to Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved (we presume that this is John). Then hearing that news Peter and John ran towards the tomb only to find that the burial cloths were there and the cloth covering the face was also there but in another place. However, Jesus’ prediction that he would rise again after three days seemed not to register in Peter’s brain and also with Mary Magdalene and with the other disciples.
However, if you look very carefully, Jesus’ body could not have been taken away as Mary Magdalene thought. If you are going to take away a body from a tomb for whatever reason, why go to the trouble of removing all the wrappings and put it neatly on one side and then run away with a naked corpse. It would not only look silly but it is downright stupid. If you are going to run away with the corpse, you grab it with all the wrappings. However, it seems that it didn’t happen this way.
For us though, it also something that most of us struggle with. Could Jesus have actually resurrected from the dead? In some documentaries, some historians contend that Jesus actually survived the crucifixion. The anointing that he received after he was pulled down from the cross has healed his wounds and he was able to come out of his tomb. Well, we have to be reminded that in the gospel of John, he has specifically said that Jesus’ side was pierced by the Roman soldier just to make sure that he was dead. So, he actually has risen from the dead, but this fact for some of us is too incredible to be true. However, the fact remains that according to our faith, it is actually true.
Pope Francis is inviting us to be joyful in this season. We should not live our lives like it is Lent forever. Lent is only a preparation for something infinitely better and that is Easter. And we can only celebrate Easter if we truly believe that Jesus rose again from the dead.
So let us celebrate this long season of Easter full of rejoicing and gladness. Jesus has triumphed over sin and death. Jesus is victorious over Satan and his legions. And Jesus did all of this because of his love for us!
Resurrection maybe almost unbelievable and yet it is true. Jesus resurrected from the dead to tell to all of us that he has done it and vanquished evil forever. And this he has done because he loves us so much.
Let us then be messengers of his resurrection. And as messengers we can’t afford to be joyless; if we believe in the resurrection, we should be joyful. And hopefully this joy of ours that comes from God will infect others too and they will also believe in the resurrection. Happy Easter everyone!!!