Monday, 15 April 2019

the angel's message

He has risen, as He said
linocut Easter card by Teresa Newham

Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, 
Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb.
And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord
descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it.
His appearance was like lightning and his clothing white as snow.
And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men.
But the angel said to the women:
"Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus, who was crucified.
He is not here, for He has risen, as He said. Come, see the place where He lay."
Matthew 28: 1 - 6

Yesterday was Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week.  At Mass we commemorated with palm branches Christ's entry into Jerusalem, when the crowds cheered Him as their Messiah; then we listened to the story of His Passion and death upon the Cross, as the authorities sought to regain their influence by turning the crowds against Him.  This week is a time of quiet reflection, culminating in the three services of the Easter Triduum - Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and the Easter Saturday Vigil, when we celebrate His rising from the dead.

When reflecting on a Bible story we can mentally place ourselves within it, so as to gain deeper insight.  We walk to the tomb with the two Marys before sunrise. We are devastated - our friend, our Saviour, has just been put to death in the most horrible way, and all our hopes have been dashed. We are scared and apprehensive, but desparate to visit the tomb, to prepare His body with spices. Will we be able to persuade the guards to move the stone from the entrance so that we might go in?

And then the ground shakes and an angel appears, rolling away the stone and sitting on it. If we were scared before, we are terrified now! The guards fall unconscious to the ground with fright. The angel offers words of reassurance: Do not be afraid.  He has risen, as He said. Can we even begin to take this in, to understand what is happening? Bewilderment, then joy. Everything He told us has come true.

This is not simply a tale of something incredible which occurred centuries ago.  Christ can be born again in us every day, not simply at Easter.  We just have to be open to Him.  Do not be afraid.

Wishing you and yours every blessing at Easter and always.

1 comment:

  1. Thought-provoking and moving; I especially like the way that the Gospel narratives are combined.