The Resurrection is the central truth of our faith. Paul tells us that if it did not happen, “We are the greatest of fools”. But this great feast also reminds us that in our daily lives we experience it on a smaller scale. We experience life, death and resurrection events as does nature all around us. Today, and for the following Sundays together we shall individually and communally renew our Baptismal promises. This is our fundamental sacrament. Because it levels the playing field. Prince, pauper, Pope and peasant are all equal because of this action which immerses us into the Body of Christ.
It is critical that we examine the context behind today’s Gospel. It is clear that the disciples were not at the tomb. One gets the sense that they were in isolation. There was understandably great fear and anxiety after Good Friday. They perhaps feared for their lives. Suspicion must have been widespread. Even those behind the death of Jesus asked for a guard be placed at the tomb. Matthew’s Gospel confirms this fact. There were rumors the body would be stolen.
But Mary of Magdala broke that isolation and fear, and as the text says, “…(she) came to the tomb early, while it was still dark”. She reminds me of the nurses and medical staffs these days that step away from fear and isolation and come to serve those impacted by a virus. Both they and Mary showed great courage. But fear remained because Mary went to the isolated disciples and suggested that Jesus’ body had been taken and,” …we do not know where they have laid him”. After Peter and John confirmed Mary’s story, they “went back to their homes”. To isolation; but Mary remained at the tomb. To emptiness!
All of us these days feel like we are stuck within Good Friday. We are being isolated, hear of deaths and we have deep medical and economic fears and the virus is spreading. But Mary offers us hope. She remains and waits and then encounters the risen Lord. The question for us this Easter of 2020 is how do we experience the Resurrection in our lives, and how do we assist others to experience the same thing?
Like Mary we try to cope with the fear through facts and we rise above physical isolation to maintain an emotional, creative presence and encouragement to others. We become invisible yeast as Paul mentions, filling the community and those we love with hope, prayers and acts of kindness where we can. Resurrection will come in many ways and perhaps some of us have experienced it through the love of family and dear friends. We may be missing it just as Mary missed Jesus and thought he was a gardener. But it will come. And hopefully like Mary, we will be able to say, “I have seen the Lord” through the graces and kindnesses of others.
Easter offers us that hope and promise!