Easter Sunday

Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of the Lord – 17 April 2022

When Mary Magdalene goes to the tomb she is going to tend to a body. It is a final act of love for one she has seen die a horrible death. But when she comes to the tomb she finds it empty; even her impulse to engage in this last service seems futile. But then, wandering in a garden full of tombs, she finds the body of the Lord, not dead but alive. And finds that the honour she came to give Our Lord’s body is no longer required.

It is not that Jesus’s body no longer matters. On the contrary, it matters all the more, for now it is not only a living but a life-giving body, a glorified body that must be served in new ways. The oils and spices can be left behind, for the loving service that Mary Magdalene must offer to the body of Christ is one that will impel her far from this garden of the dead, to serve Christ in the new garden of Eden which is the Church.

‘Go and find my brothers and tell them’, Christ will say to Mary. He calls her by name to a new act of loving service, one that has given her the title Apostola Apostolorum, the Apostle of the Apostles. We too are called today and every day to go and find Christ’s brothers and sisters and tell them, those who have not yet encountered him – tell them of our encounter with the risen Christ.

We must indeed tell them of the empty tomb. It matters that God so loved the world that he sent his only Son, it matters that he died on the Cross and was buried in that tomb two thousand years ago. And it matters that the same tomb which could not hold him was empty on the morning of the third day.

But if these historical truths are to prove to us what we so desperately long to believe, that love is indeed stronger than death, then it matters too that we have encountered the risen Christ. It matters that we can testify in truth, “We have seen the Lord.”  It matters that we who find that encounter with the risen body of our slain Lord in the life of the Church should go out to the whole world and proclaim the Good News: he is not there, he is risen, alleluia!

Fr Chris Denham

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