Scripture is definite: death ends every life. That is why “the last enemy to be destroyed is death,” declares Paul. Enemy indeed so much so that “if Christ has not been raised,” those “who have died in Christ have perished” and we are “of all people most to be pitied” (1 Cor. 15:17-19). Our one hope is that if God actually raised Jesus from the dead, he will do so for us who believe in his dream.
The Gospel lesson begins with a foot race. John, the younger disciple, wins. But frightened at what he might find, he pretends to bow to age and lets Peter enter the tomb first. Scripture speaks of seeing and believing; but they just go home, for they did not understand. If they had, they could never have gone home again. Rumor of a dead man walking around might be an interesting phenomenon but hardly significant beyond the evening news.
But Mary refuses to go home, and that makes all the difference. Yet even talking to the walking dead man is insufficient, for one tiny word is missing – “Mary!” Only when each of us is addressed by name will our shattered world be transformed. Psalm 118 anticipates: “The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.” And standing at that garden corner, what does our world look like through resurrection eyes? Isaiah dreamed of it: “A new earth” where no longer is heard “the sound of weeping” and “the cry of distress,” for none shall “hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain.” What an incredible resurrection vision.
Yet there is more. “The cloth that had been on Jesus’ head “was” rolled up in a place by itself. “This is the resurrection cloth (called a corporal, meaning “body”) on which we in the Roman Catholic tradition serve Holy Communion. On it the resurrected one is ongoingly present in “the breaking of the bread.”
SUGGESTION FOR MEDITATION:
Meditate on the Resurrection as the ongoing incarnation birthed in each of us.