Gospel text for The Great Vigil of Easter, 4 April 2015
Mark 16:1-8 When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint Jesus. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. They had been saying to one another, "Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?" When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. But he said to them, "Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you." So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.
Reflection There are actually three endings to Mark’s gospel, the original one you just read and two others that were added later. No doubt the others were added because the original ending seems incomplete and unsatisfying. I believe the original abrupt ending of Mark’s gospel is intentional. It leaves us standing at the empty tomb with Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Salome, the empty tomb that is actually not empty. In the new light on the first day of the week we and the three women meet a young man in the tomb who instructs us to go, tell and see. Go into the world. Tell the good news of Jesus the Son of God. See how the risen Christ will be there with and for us in the world.
The very fact that the story of the not really empty tomb appears in the gospel suggests that Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Salome must have told someone (otherwise how would we know) and in their telling, the story of Jesus begins again. There really is no abrupt ending. In fact, there is no ending at all.
It is up to each one of us to continue this story; to step into the dark and empty places, walk through our fears and tell the story of our faith out loud. If we want the world to know and experience the all-inclusive love of God as revealed through Jesus, it is up to us to live it. If we want food for the hungry, freedom for the oppressed and dignity for all people, it is up to us to find our voices and demand it. If we want peace and reconciliation in our lives and our world, it is up to us to embody the story of our faith so that the presence of God in the would is seen by the peaceful way we live our lives.
At the Great Vigil we light the new fire, a fire that each one of us carries into the darkness of the sanctuary that was stripped of all life on Good Friday night when we consumed the last morsels of the reserved sacrament. If not us, then who will be the light of Christ?
Alleluia! Christ is risen! Risen as each one of us go, tell, see.
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Every week I post a passage from the Bible. It is the same passage that tens of thousands of people will be reading in their homes and in their churches the following Sunday. Reading and engaging the Bible text this way connects us with millions of people, past and present who are also looking for evidence of the Holy in their lives... looking for hOlybytes.
After you read the text or wonder about the image try asking yourself these simple questions:
What did I notice?
What attracts or repulses me?
How does this connect to my life?
What am I wondering now?
Then please share your hOlybytes by clicking on comment and adding your response.
Thanks for sharing your hOlybytes! Grace and Shalom to all,
I have a dream. Actually I have several dreams. They are connected.
I have a dream that believers who have found the Holy in their lives and in Holy Scriptures will tell their stories online.
I have a dream that seekers who describe themselves as spiritual but not religious will read the believer’s stories and be surprised by the Holy.
I have a dream that believers and seekers will connect as they share their glimpses of the Holy – their hOlybytes.
I have a dream that we will all reach beyond our selves to ignite the Holy in all of life – hOlybytes blessings.
I am privileged to serve as an Episcopal priest and the vicar of Church of the Apostles, Oro Valley, Arizona.