It was very early Sunday morning. It was that still moment just as the light begins to dissolve the darkness. Mary Magdalene stood at the tomb of Jesus, confused and shocked. The tomb had been opened. The bruised body of Jesus was no longer there.
No matter how brilliant the rising sun might have been, Mary saw only darkness. She had witnessed the religious leaders challenging and attacking Jesus during his preaching journeys. Two days ago, her heart wrenched, she stood at the foot of his cross. Anger burned in her heart. His death wasn’t enough. Now they’ve taken his body, desecrated it. She ran back to the city to tell the group.
Simon Peter and John ran back with her to the tomb. Peter noted the burial cloths neatly folded. The tomb wasn’t plundered. No one stole the body. But what could have happened?
John stooped down to look into the tomb. A flash of understanding came to him. What Jesus taught, what he did, suddenly seemed to make sense. He walked back to the city with Peter in silence. Mary remained at the tomb, the morning sun burning her tear-filled eyes.
Every year I wish I could read the end of this account on Easter morning. It has a much happier ending. This portion of the account leaves Mary weeping, Peter confused, and John sorting out his new understanding of Jesus.
But perhaps, this portion of the account is meant to be an invitation for us to look into the empty tomb. What do we see? Is it daylight or darkness? What questions about the resurrection haunt our minds? What insights into the resurrection still need more light. If Jesus isn’t in the tomb, where is he?
Easter isn’t just a historical commemoration. It’s a reminder of the risen Lord’s presence today. Through our prayer, reflection, and our communal and sacramental lives can we meet him and hear him speak our names.
Father of our Lord, Jesus Christ, you touch our lives by the healing power of your love. Watch over us now, and unveil for us the glory of the resurrection. May the life we receive through the Eucharist we celebrate continue to grow in our hearts. Amen.