Easter Sunday - 1st April, 2018

Liturgical Reflection

 

The Easter Vigil liturgy is filled with light and joyful song as we celebrate our faith in Jesus’ triumph over death, secure in the truth of the resurrection.  In stark contrast, the Gospel for Easter Sunday morning in Year B, begins in darkness.  Since Friday afternoon the disciples have been living in the darkness of their grief at the loss of Jesus in death.  With him died also their confused hopes of the coming of the kingdom of God.

In her eagerness to see and venerate Jesus once more, Mary Magdalen comes before dawn in the darkness of her grief to the tomb where she had seen him laid.  Finding the tomb open and empty she assumes that the precious body had been stolen, and hurries to tell this news to Peter and the other disciples.

Peter and John come running to confirm for themselves what she has told them.  What follows is for us an insight into the nature of faith.  Peter sees the empty tomb and the burial shroud, but nothing more.  Are we to understand that he accepts Mary’s suspicion that Jesus’ body has been stolen?

 

John enters the tomb, sees what Mary and Peter have seen, ‘and believed’.  Are we to understand that John grasped at once that Jesus had risen from the dead?  The following verse tells us that ‘Till this moment they had not understood the scripture that he must rise from the dead’.

In what follows today’s reading we find that face to face with Jesus, Mary does not recognise him.  Clearly, his appearance is transformed in some way.  Recognition comes for her at the sound of his voice speaking her name.  We can rejoice in the truth that Jesus the Lord calls us also by name claiming us as his own in the gift of faith.  Through the Easter Season we shall rejoice in his meetings with his friends in Jerusalem and Galilee, stories written to confirm our faith and gladden our hearts.

Carmel Leavey OP