On the first day of the week, at early dawn, the women who had come with Jesus from Galilee came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in, they did not find the body. While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them. The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.” Then they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb, they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest. Now it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told this to the apostles. But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; then he went home, amazed at what had happened. (Luke 24:1-12. NRSV).
One can only imagine the look on the faces of the women when they were asked why they were looking for the living among the dead. As if they were not floored enough, the words that follow are even more amazing. “He is not here, but has risen.”
Today is the Holy Easter that Saint Benedict told us to prepare for in The Rule, Chapter 49 on the observance of Lent. Over the past forty days we have fasted and prayed for this day to arrive. We followed the horrifying events of Holy Week from Palm Sunday to Good Friday. Which one of us are not like those Disciples thinking that with the death of Jesus, it was all over. Even if He said that these events would happen. Now that they have happened, what will happen next?
The presence of those first women at the empty tomb shows us how God saves us from our sense of certainty. We like to have our way mapped out. We like to think that how we think things should go is how it will happen. The experience of Mary Magdalene, Joanna and Mary the mother of James was that nothing was as it was suppose to be. It was frightening. It was unthinkable. It made no sense. Their faith and trust in what Jesus told them was all they had to rely on.
On this Easter Day, we contemplate the movement of the Holy Spirit as our sense of certainty in how things are suppose to be, gives way to God’s way. God’s way in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus is about surrendering all that makes us cling to our false-sense of self; to embrace with faith and trust what God is doing. It does not have to make sense. It may be frightening. It may be nothing like anything that has happened before. Knowing the Christ rose from the dead as God’s plan for Him so that we may have everlasting life through Him, is all we need to know for today.
Then all of us can say with St. Julian of Norwich, “All shall be well. And all shall be well. And all manner of things shall be well.”
“He is not here. He has risen.”
Brother Anselm Philip King-Lowe, OSB