EASTER SUNDAY: The empty tomb

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Mary Magdalene, wanting to show her love for the Lord even in death, runs to the tomb before daybreak.

“They have taken the Lord out of the tomb and we don’t know where they have put Him” (Jn 20:2) – she exclaims in pain, when she discovers that the stone of the tomb has been removed. Are the dead not even left in peace? Where is her Lord?

And then the Lord Himself appears to her. At first Mary does not recognise Him, but when Jesus calls her by name, “she turned round and said to Him, ‘Rabbuni!'” (Jn 20:16). Jesus still does not allow her to touch Him, but He makes her the first messenger of the Resurrection.

Christ is Risen! Indeed, He is Risen!

Then Peter and John, called by Mary Magdalene, hasten to the tomb. The beloved disciple runs faster, but leaves Peter to enter the tomb first. To him – as to all his successors – the Lord will later entrust the mission of announcing the Resurrection and preserving the true faith.

The apostles will still have a way to go before they understand it all… But now the empty tomb, the folded linen cloths, the rolled-up shroud, speak for themselves…

Christ is Risen! Indeed, He is Risen!

Yes, our hope is fulfilled: death has been conquered. “Death, where is your victory? Death, where is your sting?” (1 Cor 15:55).

Our eyes are opened and we contemplate the glory of God. A new time has begun. It is not death that has the last word, but the life of Christ for ever.

Later St. Paul will challenge the church in Corinth:

“If Christ has not been raised, your faith is pointless and you have not, after all, been released from your sins. In addition, those who have fallen asleep in Christ are utterly lost. If our hope in Christ has been for this life only, we are of all people the most pitiable.” (1Cor 15:17-19)

But Christ is risen! Our hope lives! His name is Jesus Christ!

Now everything takes its course. The Risen One will appear in many ways to the disciples and they will understand Him better and better. Their hope was not disappointed! They trusted in the Lord (though not without moments of weakness); and now they are His Apostles forever. He sends them into the whole world:

“Go, therefore, make disciples of all nations; baptise them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teach them to observe all the commands I gave you.” (Mt 28:19-20)

What happened then in Jerusalem counts for all time. The Son of God redeemed mankind; He is the Way, the Truth and the Life (Jn 14:6). This Good News must be proclaimed to all without exception! The Heavenly Father, in His infinite love, sent His only Son so that all might be saved through Him.

All must know this: This Jesus, who was nailed to the cross, is risen and prepares for us the dwelling places in eternity. That is why the shout of joy will never cease:

Christ is Risen! Indeed, He is Risen!

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