For forty days we have journeyed to the cross, and along the way we have stopped and prayed at the Stations of the Cross.
For fifty days we rejoice, cry out, open our eyes in disbelief at the wonder we have seen: Christ risen, Alleluia!
Death is static, stationary, stopped. What we have now and forever is living, in motion, ever new... The Dynamics of the Empty Tomb.
Everyone else is stuck. It is the women who get up and set about doing what needs to be done. They head to the grave, with what they've prepared with their own hands, just as darkness is breaking. And here is the remarkable model of discipleship they provide: they have no way to move the stone.
Say what? Ointment and spices, expensive luxuries of the day; early morning rising and women heading out of the city on their own, vulnerable... and no plan, no idea, of how to overcome this substantial obstacle. What are they going to do when they get there? Knock? Ask the Roman soldiers for a hand? Slide the spices through a crack in the rock?!?
In their weakness, in their humble offering, they set out to offer love they think is too late, and they know is too little. Out of love for their lord, they head out on what is a fool's errand - and in so doing receive the greatest surprise in human history, the biggest scoop, the uber-miracle, the definitive redemption of the worst we have to offer.
The stone that worried them is cast aside. The gleaming angelic messengers await them. They see with their own eyes the house of death, empty and evacuated. A new message: He is Risen, and goes ahead of you to meet you. Keep moving.
Risen Christ, on rare occasions I have thrown myself into a hopeless situation, with only the inadequate work of my hands to offer in pitifully small love for you - and your Spirit has already transformed my hopeless situation! How is it that I can ever doubt you, you who have always kept your most incredible promises? Today we gather, afraid and stuck with the violence and abandonment in our hearts and in our world, and we need to gather our precious offering and head out. We need to head into the death we know we cannot budge, take small steps that look futile, only motivated by our love for you. Though they don't know it at the time, Mary Magdalene, Mary and Salome imitate your pouring out of yourself, offering a love in the face of a rejection that seems impossible to overcome. Send your Holy Spirit into our hearts to stir us up, get us to gather our poor love and head out on impossible errands of grace and mercy, trusting you have already broken the house of death, up there. Ahead of us.
Saint Mary Magdalene, Apostle to the Apostles, pray for us.
“Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?”