Gospel: John 20: 1-19
1 Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. 2 So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” 3 Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went toward the tomb. 4 The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, 7 and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. 8 Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; 9 for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead.
On Friday afternoon when Jesus died, the women had not been able to finish the customary preparation for burial. The Sabbath began at sundown on Friday, so Mary of Magdala hurried to the tomb Sunday morning to complete her task. She found the tomb empty. Certain that Jesus’ body had been stolen, she ran back to get the other disciples. Peter and the other disciple also found an empty tomb but with Jesus’ clothing rolled neatly and placed where his body had been. The disciples still didn’t understand about the resurrection and Mary wept. As she cried, two angels appeared asking why she was crying. She then saw a gardener and asked him where the body might be. When he called her by name, Mary immediately recognized Jesus.
Applying the Gospel to our lives today:
HAPPY EASTER! This is the most important feast of the Christian calendar – and the one on which the whole Christian faith rests. St. Paul puts this perfectly when he tells us in 1 Corinthians 14:
“…And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith…”
The resurrection IS Christianity. Other religions have some great moral values and inspired teachings, but none of them have a claim anywhere near to the resurrection. Science has given us awesome advances and wonderful cures, but it has yet to raise anyone from the dead. In fact I struggle to think of a single claim throughout history more radical and more outrageous than that of the resurrection! Even some Christians seem to forget the radical outrageousness of the resurrection, preferring to focus on easier things like youth club pool tables and cake sales for Africa. But here it is – there is no escaping it – we have a God who lowered Himself to take on human form and then DIED FOR US to take away our sin, and then ROSE FROM THE DEAD so that we may be ASSURED of our future destiny – eternal life with Him. Our God has gone to a lot of trouble to let us know how much He values and loves each one of us!
When we have our dark moments, our lack of faith, our moments of weakness, let us meditate on the resurrection for a few moments and apply it to our situation:
“C’mon! if He rose from the dead He can surely fix my marriage!”
“If He rose from the dead He will lead me out of my impossible debt.”
“If He can beat death, He can show me how to beat my addiction.”
“His resurrection has assured us of life after death. Now I can rest easy knowing that one day I WILL see my deceased loved ones again.”
The resurrection IS Christianity. Lets spend a few moments to meditate on how joyful that is! – and then reflect that joy to those around us!
The strife is over, the battle done,
The victory of life is won,
The sung of triumph has begun: Alleluia! Alleluia!