THE MYSTERY OF THE EMPTY TOMB
Updated: May 8, 2021
Easter Sunday year B 04/04/2021, Lk 24,13-35
Today’s the church proclaim throughout the world “Jesus Christ is risen”. However, we have heard today’s Gospel. The story is not that happy. On the morning of the first day, the women went to the tomb to anoint the dead body of Jesus. How shocked she must have been to see the stone rolled away, and the body was not there. It must have been stolen: “Someone has taken it!” Mary Magdalene said. Going back to the disciples the women brings the terrible news.
This news has to be verified, so Peter and John run to the garden where the tomb is located. They also see an empty tomb with cloths on the ground, headcloth rolled up in a place itself. What does it mean? This is not the work of grave robbers, why would they unwrap the body?
The empty tomb is a reality by the absence of the body of Jesus. All four canonical Gospels reported it as a fundamental starting point. The empty tomb means for me these three words: space, faith, and witness.
I tell you a story. There is a young man who came to a wise man asking to become his disciples. The master told him “throw it away”. The young man thought that his master meant what he had in his hands. He did it. The Master said again “throw it away”. This time he thought that it should be his bag. He did it. But the master repeated “Throw it away” The young man didn’t know what to do because he had nothing on him right now. The master said “yourself, throw it away” (ego)
We have heard in the Gospel “The other disciples, who reach the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed”. This loved and loving disciple saw only and believed. He saw the same thing: an empty tomb. However, what makes him believe is the scripture and Jesus’ preaching to them about his death and resurrection. He made for his soul a privileged place of God’s words in a good relationship with Jesus himself not like other disciples about the money, and earthly power by asking to be on the right and left side that we had heard in the previous chapter. They do not have any more space for the word of God because of their personal concerns. Therefore, they do not understand the Scripture by seeing the empty tomb.
The empty tomb should not see as a dramatic story by normal logic. As the clothes are there so the Risen Lord is no longer wearing the earthly clothes but his body is transformed into something outside of our experience, beyond our expectations. And for many of us, it is impossible that rising from the dead is. All the evidence tells us that death is final. It is the end of everything. We should have the sight of the beloved disciple that it means “throw yourself away” said the Master, making space for God in our house, developing a relationship with Jesus so that we can see another reality with faith. This reality is that Christ is risen from the dead because “If Jesus did not rise, says St. Paul, he who believes in him would be a fool, the most unfortunate of all men and that if men do not rise again or have the possibility to rise again, then Christ has not risen”. (1Corinthians 15, 14-19) That is the reason why the Church celebrates today and invites us to proclaim to the whole world.
The empty tomb, with the clothes, is a sign of a reality that the body of Jesus was. We are also calling to be a sign for others as Peter did. By telling Cornelius his personal story with Jesus Christ who lived with him, died on a cross, risen from the dead, and had with him a unique experience: ate with him after his resurrection. That is what we need. We received this faith from the Apostles. In our turn, by having a personal or common experience with Risen Lord, we will tell other people.
Our faith is challenged by this mystery of the empty tomb. Pray, brothers and sisters that God help us to “empty ourselves”, and to fill us with love and his words so that we can say “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad”.