Thursday, March 29, 2018

Gospel text for the Great Vigil of Easter 31 March 2018

Image result for image of sunrise over the catalina mountains 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     The stone protecting the entrance to Jesus’ tomb is rolled back. Instead of finding Jesus’ body inside the tomb there is a young man dressed in white, sitting there and saying strange things. “Do not be alarmed, you are for looking Jesus who was crucified. He is not here. He has been raised.”  And along with Mary Magdalene, Mary the Mother of James and Salome we ask, “Now what are we supposed to do?”   

Here the original gospel according to Mark ends; it ends as abruptly as it begins. Remember how is begins? This is the beginning of the good news of Jesus the Christ, the Son of God.” These few words tell us, this is a story of good news.  From the very beginning we know Jesus’ true identity, the Son of God. Nevertheless, all the way through the story, along with the disciples, we forget,  we forget the good news, we forget who Jesus is, and then we remember and begin the story again. We forget, then remember and begin the story again. 

That is the way it is (the way we are), right down to the wire. We remember who Jesus is at our Thursday evening Passover Supper and then when things get chaotic on Friday we fear for our lives, forget, run away and hide or stand at a distance watching Jesus take his last breath. Is it not ironic? The person who in the end “remembers” and announces who Jesus is, is a stranger, a Roman soldier, one of those who pounded nails through Jesus’ flesh on the cross. We hear that soldier boldly proclaim, “Truly this man was God’s Son.” And there we are, beginning again, the beginning of the good news of Jesus the Son of God, who dies on a cross. 

It is in this very moment that we discover the answer to the question, the question that mystified us and the Mary’s just moments ago at Jesus’ vacated tomb, “Now what are we supposed to do?” The answer is this, when the Sabbath (the time of waiting) is over and  “the sun has risen on the first day of the week,” it is time to begin again, to see the new light that has pierced the darkness. It is time for us to go and tell the good news of Jesus the Son of God, the message that has reverberated throughout Mark’s gospel because always, always, always, no matter how dark the darkness, always we begin again.

This is the good news of Easter…. ALWAYS we begin again. Alleluia! Alleluia!

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