Mary Magdalene is the first disciple to preach the good news of the Resurrection. She hastens to the disciples and tells Peter and John, the beloved disciple that “We don’t know where they put him.” Mary Magdalene uses the plural form “We” which marks here she has a leadership role among Jesus disciples. The Gospel of John is the only Gospel that mentions in verse 11 that Mary Magdalene “wept.”
Matthew tells us that Mary went to the tomb “toward dawn.” Mark says it happened “when the sun has risen.” Luke tells us it happened “at early dawn.” And John tells us this happened “when it was still dark.” For John Jesus is the Light of the World, who came to dispel the “Darkness.”
The first words that Jesus uses after the Resurrection are “Who are you looking for?” The same words that he directed to John the Baptists’ disciples when they expressed their interest in his ministry. The presence of Jesus transforms the grief of Mary Magdalene, Peter and John into joy. John believes because he believes in the words of Jesus. Peter believes as he enters the empty tomb.
For John, Jesus’ glorification took place on the Cross and is completed when He returns to the Father! The only evidence the disciple have of this is when they reached the tomb, and saw that it was empty, except for the scattered burial clothes that were in the tomb along with the burial cloth used to enshroud the head cloth used to hold Jesus’ head and is neatly folded in place. The folded clothes are evidence that the tomb was not robbed, but that Jesus himself freed Him from death.
Jesus kept his word to the disciples that their sorrow would be converted into joy. Jesus promised his disciples that after his Resurrection they would enjoy the same relationship that he enjoys with his Father. This promise has been extended to all Easter Christians which enables us to celebrate Jesus life when we free ourselves from the world of fears, failures, false and broken gods.
Easter Christians celebrates the Risen life of Christ with signs of the Resurrection. Wrongs are righted, Trust is restored, Families are reconciled, Sin is confessed, Addictions are tamed, Harvests are gathered, Victims are liberated, Strangers are welcomed, Losses are accepted, Jobs are finished, and Prayers are answered.
What is most important in this part of the Gospel is what happens after. Jesus chases down the disciples on the way to Emmaus. He breaks bread convinces them they must go back to Jerusalem and keep the dream alive. Then He goes to the Upper Room where the disciples are locked up against the outside world. Jesus appears to them and says to them. “You abandoned me. You betrayed me. You denied me. You deserted me. You lied about me.” It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter. What matter is our friendship, the relationship we share with one another. The friendship we share with Jesus, and Father, and the Holy Spirit. That’s what matters. If we are in a marriage, we must forgive, if we are in a family, we must forgive, if we are in a community, we must forgive, if we are in a Church that is divided we must forgive, if we are in a parish, that is divided, we must forgive and love one another
The darkness of Winter is gone away and a new day of Spring is standing on its tip toes, ready to be born. Happy Easter. God Bless Us All.
Fr. Ken O’Malley, C.P., is the formation director and local superior at Holy Name Passionist Community in Houston, Texas.