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. 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.”
Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went toward the tomb. The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in.
Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
“While it was still dark” Mary Magdala comes to the tomb in a garden, just a few footsteps away from where Jesus was crucified. Good Friday’s gloom is still thick in the air. But she, Peter and John encounter something totally unexpected: the stone rolled away, the tomb empty, the burial clothes neatly folded. Not the chicanery of grave robbers, but what is it?
Unprecedented! Incomprehensible! Inexplicable! Just as the light of a new day dawns, so does their understanding. Slowly, silently, Jesus’ predictions about “rising from the dead” water their withered hopes.
Resurrection is just too much to take in all at once. Faith is so often like this. There’s an occasional big bang, but most often it’s slow growth, just like in nature. First tiny shoots peek through the ground, then full stalks, young buds, and only then the full flowering of faith. This story of joy is just beginning to dawn.
You, Lord Christ, are the resurrection and the life. Call us out of our tombs of isolation. You are new sight for the blind. Open our eyes to seeing Your grace at work in our lives. You are living water for the thirsty. Quench the parched palates of our souls. You are strength and protection for our hearts. Call us out of the desert of fasting into feasting at Your table of love. As we enter into this season of Easter, we pray for the gift of joy.
—J. Michael Sparough, S.J.