When I wish you all Easter Blessings I am actually praying and hoping that the life of the Risen Jesus is awakened in a new way in your hearts, that the life of Jesus who is alive is deepened within you.
The Gospel for the Mass on Easter Sunday morning is that wonderful passage from John’s Gospel (John 20: 1-9) which tells us about Mary of Magdala going to visit the tomb where Jesus had been buried. She found the tomb – like a cave rather than a grave at a cemetery as we know it – was opened and it was empty!
Her first reaction was to rush off and tell the Apostles that someone had stolen the body of Jesus. Her news made Peter and John run to the tomb themselves. John got to the tomb first but waited for Peter who was the first one to go into the tomb. I think that Peter had to experience the emptiness of the tomb, as he was going to be responsible for the early Church.
Sometimes we too have to experience emptiness – even despair at times – for faith and hope to be born in our hearts. For Peter it was necessary to undergo the trial of the ‘empty tomb’ for his faith to be strengthened; it was that first Easter Sunday morning that both Peter and John began to realise that on the other side of emptiness was FAITH. Until that moment they had failed to ‘understand the teaching of Scripture, that he must rise from the dead’.
When my mother died back in 1988, we had some prayer cards printed in her memory to give to people to say thanks for their love and support, and so that they, like our family, could see those cards and pray for Mum and give thanks for her life. One of the quotes on some of those cards was from Thomas Merton; it read: ‘May every rising morning be a promise of Christ’s glorious rising.’
When I write ‘Easter Blessings’ to you that is also what I hope for everyone who reads this column. I pray that every morning will be a day to look forward to because Christ is alive and is with us. I pray your lives will be full of hope as we journey together through life knowing Christ is not dead, he is alive! This fact is the heart of the Gospel, God raised Jesus up from the dead.
This resurrection event is not just a story, it is not just the greatest of miracles, it is the one that makes sense of life and of our lives, it is what makes life worth living. Those first disciples of Jesus were in the depths of despair, their faith was awakened when they saw the empty tomb, their lives were never the same again.
In wishing you ‘Easter Blessings’ my prayer is this Easter as you experience the promise of Christ’s glorious rising that your lives will never be the same again. May you know that the purpose of our lives is to follow Jesus all the way, in everything we do and say. It is to live with him, speak with him, love him, work with him and rise with him. Easter blessings to you all.