The Gospel reading for today’s Mass from John is lacking in drama in comparison to Mark 16:1-8, Matthew 28:1-10 and Luke 24:1-12.
For me, John’s version leaves me with a lot of questions: Who is the “we” in Mary Magdala’s statement? Who is “the other disciple whom Jesus loved”? Is it John as most assume? Could you unnamed be someone else or meant to stand for all who believe? What’s the significance of the head covering rolled up in a separate place? Did Simon Peter think the body was put in a different unknown place as Mary of Magdala assumed? How did the other disciple, seeing the same thing as Simon Peter did, come to believe instantly while it states in the closing, “For they did not yet understand the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead”? If we only had this account of the early morning and the first witnesses of the empty tomb, and nothing afterward, who would you be, Mary of Magdala, Simon Peter or the other disciple?
The mystery of the Resurrection is something we understand more in our heart then in our heads. It’s so incomprehensible that even the people who first encountered it could not agree how to express the mystery (cf. read all the accounts listed above). But, it changes everything!
Yes, in this life on earth we are not spared from pain, disease, separation, disappointment, betrayal, and heartache. Jesus does not give to those who believe in him an exemption to all that and more. The novel coronavirus, aka COVID-19, which we are enduring now, causes some to ask, “Why is this happening? Why doesn’t God do something to rid the world of this evil scourge?” God ordinarily does not rescue us. Jesus’s Father did not rescue him from the aloneness, humiliation and pain of the cross. Rather Jesus promises, that in the end, there will be redemption and eternal life. Love will overcome hatred; peace, fear; life, death. The Resurrection of Jesus is the ultimate sign and promise to us of the redeeming love of God!
HE IS RISEN! ALLELUIA!