All throughout this Lenten Season, the Sunday Gospels have been about moving from darkness into light. They’ve been about seeing things in a new way. The woman whom Jesus met at the well was invited to see herself in a new light. The man who was born blind received the light of faith and Lazarus was brought out of darkness and into the light which is life.
Easter’s Gospel scene opens in the dark as Mary Magdelene moves toward the tomb. It is empty and Mary is left in the dark about where He has been taken. At this point, Mary does not know what’s what. So she does the natural thing: she makes up a reasonable story which makes it somehow understandable (sounds like politics today, doesn’t it!). Only later does she meet the “gardener”….but even then there is a moment of non-recognition until the light dawns. The same process happens with the apostles cowering in the Upper Room, with Thomas, with the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. Easter is always about that movement from darkness and not-fully-understanding into light and a deeper understanding. Notice I say “deeper understanding.” We will never know or understand fully until we are in heaven. In the meantime, hopefully, we will progress from depth to depth to depth in our understanding of what Jesus means to us, and of what a relationship to Jesus and his Father mean for our happiness and wholeness.
Life is complex…no two ways about it. And it seems to be growing more and more complex each day. The great temptation we all face is to say “the hell with it all” and retreat into our little tombs and caves where we’re comfortable and secure. There we’ll stop all movement and not worry about confronting and dealing with the new realities of life, whether they be economic, political, family values, whatever. The mantra seems to be: “I know what I believe and you ain’t never ever gonna change my mind. So there. Ha!”
Well, that’s the easy way to go. It’s very comforting. But I’ll bet that deep down, people who choose that way of daily living know they’re copping out. That kind of life really isn’t all that comfortable. We humans are not so comfortable in the dark and even less when we do not understand the meaning of it all. The life, death and resurrection of Jesus is an invitation to look around the empty tombs of our lives where we take “refuge”. Are they really that satisfying? As I said above. Easter is about movement. The Resurrection of Jesus is the continuation of God’s original statement, “Let there be light!” And once we have light, even if it be a smidgen, we start to move.
Happy Easter to you!!!
Fr. Herb, C.S.C.