John 20: 1-9
1 Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. 2 So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”
3 So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. 4 Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, 7 as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. 8 Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. 9 (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.)
REFLECTION, by Fr Aldo, sx
We can perceive, almost touch and breathe the victory over death in the first words of today’s Gospel. Everything was silent on earth, immobility, quietness, while a woman, alone and scared, moved in the darkness of night. However, when she sees the empty tomb everything changes like in magic trick. Shaken by the explosion of life, all characters begin to move fast: Mary Magdalene goes running up to Simon Peter; on his turn Simon Peter rushes to the site together with another disciple; they ran together, but eventually the other disciple ran faster. Taking everybody by surprise on the day after Sabbath, life explodes with all its strength. God interfered and rolled down the stone from the sepulcher.
Even in our days there are instances and places where death dominates mightily and silence celebrates its victory. The power, the force of intimidation, discrimination, fear, injustice, smartness sometimes seem to crash down the forces of life and the human person finds itself inert in the face of the evil’s triumph. But, could discouragement and conformism possibly be compatible with faith in the resurrected Christ?
Early at dawn on Ester Sunday God already manifests the first sign of the social revolution which the resurrection of Christ can provoke. In the Jewish society of the time women were discriminated; like slaves, children and shepherds, women were not considered reliable witnesses. Yet God chooses a woman precisely to carry the message to the world that death had been conquered.
As for us, what is more important perhaps is that each one of us discovers how at a practical level we can resurrect with Jesus Christ. There is a story about a man who suffered of stuttering. He could never speak a sentence straight. One day he found himself on a bus without any money. While thinking what to do to get out of this embarrassing situation he decided that he would stutter all the more when the conductor came along, hoping that, confused, he would just let him by. So, as the conductor approached he began practicing his stutter. However, when he faced the conductor he said “I have no money,” without any impediment, much to his own surprise. For the first time in his life he had accepted his stutter and the acceptance had freed him from it.
The change to a new life, a resurrected life, does not occur by setting aside, hiding or ignoring a less perfect life, but precisely by accepting what in us scares us most. By embracing death Jesus was freed from it forever.
Therefore, what is it that you most need to accept or recognize so that this Ester may become a victorious explosion of new life also for you? Embrace what you fear most and God will roll down the stone from the tomb for you. HAPPY EASTER!