Holy Week is now upon us, and we look forward to Easter Sunday. Below is an extract from Fr Bryan Shortall’s Tired of all the Bad News, and a reflection on the resurrection.
“The women of Jerusalem went to the tomb early on Sunday morning to anoint the badly damaged dead body of Jesus. They weren’t able to do this after he was taken down from the cross, as it was almost the Sabbath and therefore Jesus was buried in haste. When they reached the tomb, they found that the huge stone had been rolled back. In the different gospel translations we meet different angelic figures who tell the women and the disciples that they won’t find Jesus in the empty tomb.
From Luke’s gospel we read:
On the first day of the week, at the first sign of dawn, they went to the tomb with the spices they had prepared. They found that the stone had been rolled away from the tomb, but on entering they could not find the body of the Lord Jesus. As they stood there puzzled about this, two men in brilliant clothes suddenly appeared at their side. Terrified, the women bowed their heads to the ground. But the two said to them, ‘Why look among the dead for someone who is alive? He is not here; he has risen. Remember what he told you when he was still in Galilee’ (Lk 24:1-6).
Jesus is risen. He is no longer in the tomb, it is empty; the tomb cannot contain him anymore. Behind him, Jesus has left death, darkness, fear, and sin. As Christians, as people of the resurrection, we have no business in the empty tomb looking for Jesus – we won’t find him there. We need to break free from the tomb too, and leave behind the darkness in our lives. We need to walk away from all that traps and binds us up in a suffocating grip. In the tomb we leave our fears, our phobias, our introspection, our prejudices, our anger, all violence, all rivalry, all darkness, and all sin. We run away from everything that takes our joy and stops us serving one another which is the key to contentment. We need to leave all this behind as all of it holds us back. We are called to go to Jesus who has gone ahead of us into the light, for he alone has the message of eternal life.
‘Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song’ (Pope St John Paul II).”
If you would like to read more from Fr Bryan Shortall and discover his reflections for every time of the year, Tired of all the Bad News can be bought here.