My dear people of St. Mary’s:
This weekend we celebrate the greatest feast of our Church’s liturgical year: the Solemnity of the Resurrection of the Lord, Easter Sunday.
All during this past week, we have walked step by step with our Lord, from His triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, through His eating of the Last Supper with His Apostles on Holy Thursday, to the arduous Way of the Cross on Good Friday. We have made the journey with Him over these days from Bethpage to Calvary. We have liturgically re-enacted all the events of that last week of His life, and have concluded by symbolically taking Him down from the Cross, wrapping and preparing His body, and laying it in the tomb.
And today, on this Easter Sunday morning, like the holy women, we rise and come looking for the Lord:
1 But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices which they had prepared. 2 And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they went in they did not find the body. 4 While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel; 5 and as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?” [Lk 24:1-5]
The angels posed to those good and faithful women the most unanswerable question in all of history: “Why do you seek the living among the dead?” What the Jewish leaders and Roman officials were afraid of, the believers did not even dare to believe. The truth would not be known until the first recorded appearance to one who was inconsolable in her grief. As Blessed John Henry Newman wrote:
Consider the account of His appearing to St. Mary Magdalene. While she stood at the sepulchre weeping He appeared, but she knew Him not. When He revealed Himself, He did not, indeed, at once vanish away, but He would not let her touch Him; as if, in another way, to show that His presence in His new kingdom was not to be one of sense. The two disciples [on the road to Emmaus] were not allowed to see Him after recognizing Him, St. Mary Magdalene was not allowed to touch Him. But afterwards, St. Thomas was allowed both to see and touch; he had the full evidence of sense: but observe what our Lord says to him, “Thomas, because thou hast seen Me, thou hast believed; blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” Faith is better than sight or touch.
And so, today we are privileged to celebrate this great feast, and to hear again the extraordinary and joyful ending of the “greatest story ever told.” Let us always remember that we have been given the great grace to see with Faith what so many could not see with their eyes, or believe by their touch.
I pray that you and your families will have a blessed Easter.