Last night, during the celebration of the Easter Vigil, we heard Matthew’s story of the resurrection. Today, we hear John tell the story of the resurrection. His account is a little different. Instead of the women coming to the tomb, Mary Magdalene comes to the tomb - alone. She sees that the stone is already rolled away and goes in search of Peter and the disciple whom Jesus loved. She reports that Jesus is gone. Mary says nothing about resurrection. Peter and the disciple whom Jesus loves take off running toward the tomb.
The other disciple gets their first. He bends down to look into the tomb and sees that Jesus is not there but the linens are there. Immediately he believes. When Simon Peter arrives, he goes into the tomb and sees that the linens are arranged in a particular way. The disciples return home. We are told that John believes the words of Jesus – that he will rise again!
The story tells us that when the disciples go home, Mary remains there at the tomb, weeping. As she weeps, she recognizes the presence of two and they ask her a question that is odd to our ears. They ask her why she is weeping. She responds that she is looking for Jesus. When she turns she sees someone whom she thinks is the gardener but it is in fact, Jesus. She recognizes him when he speaks her name. During their conversation Jesus reminds her not to cling to the Jesus she knew. Jesus tells her that he is returning to God and he gives her a task. She is sent to tell others that Jesus has returned to God. John tells us that Mary does what she has been asked to do!
In our first reading from the Acts of the Apostles, Peter is speaking to the early Christians, reminding them of who Jesus is and of what Jesus has done. Peter tells the early Christians – because of your baptism you are witnesses. They are to give testimony, telling anyone and everyone they can that Jesus Christ has died and is risen and that in Jesus our sins are forgiven.
In the second reading from Paul’s letter to the Colossians Paul reminds the members of the Church that since they have been baptized, raised to new life in Christ they should live their life according to the teachings of Christ. In other words, they should not be concerned only with the things that they can see and touch. They should be concerned with the things of God. Paul tells them that their life is hidden in Christ and when all is revealed they will be seen in the fullness of Glory just like Jesus Christ.
There are three gestures/actions in the readings that can make a difference in our life. They are:
Seeking/looking for Jesus
Bending down to look and to see
Doing as Jesus does
1. Seeking Jesus – The early disciples (MARY IS A GREAT EXAMPLE) and the early Christians wanted to know where Christ was, what he was doing, where he was going and what they could do to be close to him!
Who and what are we seeking? Scripture tells us we should be looking for Jesus!
2. The second gesture that is important is “Bending down to see Jesus”. In the scriptures the other disciple and Peter see and believe when they bend down to look. Bending down means putting the focus on the other! Many of us are afraid to bend down – to do difficult things – to be humble – to take in the needs of the other. We want things our way and we often believe that we are entitled to things. Bending down means letting go!
3. The third gesture from our readings that is important for our faith journey is “Doing as Jesus does”. Jesus sends Mary to share good news with the disciples. Paul reminds the early Christians to turn away from sin. Do we let Jesus send us with Good News for others?
Today the scriptures invite us to look for the Risen Jesus; they invite us to recognize that there is more to life than what we want; they invite us to do as Jesus does – to be a source of life and forgiveness.
Jesus sends us to do as he would do, to share good news in our actions and in our words.
These three gestures will change our lives and the world in which we live. When we make these three gestures a regular part of our life we will see the glory of the Risen Lord and we will become new life!
This is what God promises us. God is faithful! Jesus Christ is Risen from the dead!
Fr. Doug Jeffrey, OMI