Easter, Year B
Almighty God, who through your only-begotten Son Jesus Christ overcame death and opened to us the gate of everlasting life: Grant that we, who celebrate with joy the day of the Lord’s resurrection, may be raised from the death of sin by your life-giving Spirit; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went toward the tomb. The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. Then the disciples returned to their homes.
But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; and she told them that he had said these things to her.
Listen as our Faith from the Margins to the Web Authors David and MaryAnn read the opening prayer together:
As soon as they finished reading the Gospel lesson, David immediately looked up and said, “Wow! That’s powerful. Mary understood immediately that Jesus had risen. But it took other people time to figure out what was happening. She knew, she must have. She says: ‘I have seen the Lord!’ ”
MaryAnn had noticed that, too. “That is really interesting. Another thing that stood out to me when I heard you read it was all the people who were reacting in different ways. That part about the two disciples running together, trying to get there first caught my attention. They are both running, and when the one disciple gets there he just begins to peek in. But, Simon Peter goes barging right on in! Then, once Peter was in, the other disciple went in too. But they didn’t see Jesus…they just saw the empty tomb. And they went home and didn’t tell anybody. But Jesus, He only appeared to Mary Magdalene, and she is the one who told people. She was there to mourn, she was weeping. And it was when she was weeping that Jesus appeared to her. He said her name, and that was when she knew it was him. I thought it was interesting that the male disciples weren’t the ones to tell everyone. It was Mary who spread the word, who told people she had seen the Lord.”
“You know, I think they knew something had happened but the question was, WHAT had happened. They didn’t know he’d been resurrected or…how did they say it back in the day…that he was the messiah.” said David. “They were just like, ‘Wow, something has happened here…”
MaryAnn found this reassuring. “The disciples lived with him every day, and they still didn’t understand,” she said. So, if we don’t understand or we don’t know exactly what God wants us to do, we’re not alone…we’re actually in good company” said Mary Ann. “Reading this has also given me a whole, new appreciation for Mary Magdalene and her recognizing and telling people what she had seen. Jesus spoke to her, and she obviously wanted to touch him even though he wouldn’t allow her to do that.”
“Oh yeah, that’s the ‘hadn’t ascended yet’ part” said David. “I never knew what that meant before.”
“Right” said MaryAnn. “And I mean, this was really something. Women weren’t well regarded and yet, Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene and told her to spread the word.”
David said, “I think this reminds me that we need to know that God is there; that we have to believe it and not second guess it. Then, that makes it real to us.”
Mary Ann acknowledged the resurrection has always been a mystery. “What do you think it means in our lives, to be resurrected?”
David thought about this for a while. “It’s pretty clear to me that being reborn is like when we’re baptized, when we are forgiven. We get a new life, and we live differently, or we try to. I don’t have that…what do you call it…that community when I’m just with other people. But with church, in God, we actually love each other in Christ. Seeing someone and saying, “I love you, brother” you know, that doesn’t happen everywhere. It sure doesn’t happen on the streets. Some evil happens there, that’s for sure. But not always a lot of love. That’s a resurrection.”
Mary Ann thought about the question, too. “For me, retirement kind of feels like resurrection. I used to work all the time. Now, I’m able to be reborn into myself; I can make decisions for myself instead of my job making decisions for me. I feel like I’ve been able to live fully into who I am now.”
This was true in David’s life, too. “There’s a lot of joy in me now. I mean, we don’t always have everything we need. But in the church, people do help each other and help us do what we want to do. The Church is a place for resurrection, a place to get a second chance.”
As we celebrate the joy of this Easter season, where is resurrection in your own life?