Gospel: John 20. 1- 18
Easter is such a very special festival for the church. The resurrection of Jesus was the only thing that fascinated the apostles and the early Christians. In fact the apostles filled with the Holy Spirit started proclaiming Christ crucified and risen.
During the Holy week our hearts and minds were gripped by the suffering and death of our Lord Jesus Christ. The passion narratives from the New Testament brought to our attention very difficult realities of life, abandonment, disappointment, betrayal, denial, injustice, violence and torture, brutal politics, the victimisation of the innocent.
Easter breaks the gloom of such realities with the good news that Jesus Christ is risen. Easter is a demonstration of the power of God over death and evil. The Easter joy can be beautifully experienced in reading the Easter narratives in the four gospels. God who seemed to be absent in all that was happening is now powerfully present as God raises to life his son Jesus Christ.
In the spectacular Gospel reading from John’s gospel, we can see Mary Magdalene who comes to the tomb to pay her respects to the body of Jesus which was kept in a tomb. To her amazement she finds the stone that sealed the tomb has been rolled away. She runs to John and Peter and shares this information and they also come and see the empty tomb and they go away.
Mary Magdalene does not go away, she waits near the tomb, wanting to know what happened to the body of Jesus. Eventually she meets Jesus whom she initially thought was a gardener. The risen Lord calls her by name and that opens her eyes and she cries out ‘rabbouni’ which means teacher.
Easter festival is what Christian faith is all about. Death has been redefined, death is no more the end. Earlier Jesus Christ has taught his disciples, all those who believe in me will never die, I will raise them up on the last day. St. Paul writes in his epistles to Rome and the Thessalonians that Jesus Christ died and rose again so that he might be the lord of the living and the dead.
Easter then, opens up a new faith for us that is built on hope. Hope that what appears to be the end will be a new beginning. The risen Christ spoke to Mary Magdalene and his words seem to stress the urgency with which to prepare for the new thing that is to arise, which was the church.
This Easter we remind ourselves of the wonder of Easter and pray that God should fill our hearts and minds with the joy and hope of Easter which the risen Lord Jesus Christ offers.