First Reading: Acts 10:34a. 37-43; Psalm: 118. R. v. 24; Second Reading: Col 3:1-4; Gospel: Jn 20:1-9
BY FR VALENTINE NNAMDI EGBUONU, MSP
“They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” (Jn 20:2)
Easter morning is here. The dawn that met the tomb empty. Prior to this morning, Jesus was dead and buried. His followers were scattered and still in fear that what happened to their master might happen to them. But apparently there were few among them who mustered up some courage to keep contact with the tomb. Mary Magdalene and few other women who visited the tomb were among this few. Perhaps, Peter and John could be added.
On this Easter morning, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene and few other women who went to the tomb to anoint the body of Jesus observed that the stone covering the tomb was rolled away and that the body of Jesus was no longer there. Surprisingly, Mary was not happy but shocked to see this.
She then ran to make a report and only found Peter and John. Probably, the other disciples were still in hiding. Mary’s report was not news of joy but of anxiety. She did not report that Jesus had risen from the dead. Instead she said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” This suggests that Mary did not put her heart to the promise of Jesus that he would rise again. Perhaps she thought the guards had stolen the body of Jesus.
With this report Mary had just pressed the panic button. And this necessitated the quick response of Peter and John who immediately hurried down to the tomb. On getting there, they saw the linen cloths and the napkin lying on the tomb without the body of Jesus. This left them bemused and speechless.
We may wonder why Mary, Peter and John were acting surprised and confused as if to say Jesus never told them he would rise again. But on a second thought, never has it been heard in history that anyone rose from the dead by his own power. It is difficult to believe and accept what has never happened before. This was the crisis going on in their minds. “Could this be true?” “Has he truly risen?” Or as Mary thought “Could someone have stolen his body?” This surprise is what Easter is all about.
Easter is when God did the unexpected; not that what happened was not expected but that it exceeded our expectations. Easter is when God surprised us with an unrivalled surprise; a kind of surprise that changed our knowledge of him. Easter is the day that the whole world discovered that God has been in our midst yet we do not understand what God is capable of doing. Easter is the day we begin again to learn something new about God because our knowledge of him cannot be exhausted.
If this is what Easter is, then we don’t have to wait a whole year to celebrate another Easter because the story of Easter continues as God keeps on surprising us. The story of Easter continued for the apostles would go on to preach the risen Christ as we read in the first reading of today which led to the increase in the number of believers. The story of Easter continues for God is not done with us yet but will gift us with more beautiful surprises. The story of Easter continues for even as at now we may feel down, we believe that we shall rise again. The story of Easter continues because all hope is definitely not lost.
When Jesus later appeared to his disciples he said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.” Our own Galilee is our individual homes. So Jesus is saying to us today, “Do not be afraid; for even in your homes, you will find me there.”
So as we go home today, may the risen Christ surprise us with Easter blessings. Amen.
As we step into our homes, may we encounter this Easter surprise that knows no bounds. Amen.
And as we step out of our homes, may we carry with us the blessings of Easter surprises to bless the people we meet on our way. Amen
I wish you a Blessed Easter full of surprises.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY
Risen Lord, we believe that you rose from the dead. May the blessings of your rising from the dead continually surprise us with many countless blessings. Amen.