Sunday, April 16, 2017

"Woman, why are you weeping?"

Happy Easter! Imagine this day! The disciples are in deep mourning over the crucifixion and death of their Lord and Master. Its a bla, bleak, dark, empty day. At this point, the disciples still do not believe what Jesus told them that, in three days, he would rise again. Death would have no power over Him.  

He In today’s Gospel, John 20: 1-9,  Mary of Magdala goes to the tomb and finds it empty. Jesus is not there. Frightened that someone stole the body, she runs to Simon Peter and John and reports the empty tomb. Peter and John dash to the tomb, John arriving first but, out of respect, waits for Peter to arrive and enter the tomb. Peter finds it empty as well, the burial cloths in which the body of Jesus was wrapped neatly folded.  From Peter’s perspective, the body of Jesus is gone.

John enters the empty tomb. “He saw and believed.”

Would you be Peter or John? Would you only see an empty tomb? Are you unbelieving, going about your business today, living your life by celebrating holidays, not holy days? Is Easter only about bunnies and Easter eggs and champagne and Easter lambs to be eaten, enjoyed and then life goes on in a secular, detached, unbelieving way? Is your faith dead or dying, in a weakened state, to say the least?

Jesus, our Lord and Incarnate God, crucified, put to death, has risen. He does so quietly, so to speak, breaking the chains of death, destroying Satan’s power and opening the gates to eternal life for each  one of us.   No crowds of people witness the resurrection, as John reports it. Jesus is risen. While Peter and John went into the tomb,  Mary of Magdala stood outside the tomb weeping.  “As she wept, she stooped to look inside [after Peter and John had left], and saw two angels in white sitting where the body of Jesus had been, one at the head, the other at the feet. They said, ‘Woman why are you weeping?’  ‘They have taken my Lord away,’ she replied, ‘and I don’t know where they have put him.’ As she said this she turned round and saw Jesus standing there, though she did not realize that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, ‘Woman why are you weeping? Who are you looking for?’  Supposing him to be the gardener, she said, ‘Sir, if you have taken him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will go and remove him.’ Jesus said, ‘Mary!’ She turned around then and said to him in Hebrew, ‘Rabbuni!’…” (John 20: 11-16).

For whom or what are you weeping? For whom are you looking? Do you recognize Jesus in your midst? Do you hear Jesus whispering your name? Or is Jesus not someone with whom you have a first-name relationship, a friendship that does not allow you to leave the "empty tombs" of your life until you find Him?

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