We are an Easter People
I often imagine myself in Mary Magdalene’s position being the first one to find the empty tomb. After witnessing her best friend carry his cross, hearing the last words he spoke, and seeing him breathe his last breath, his body is nowhere to be found. I can feel how scared she must have been. I can see the hope draining out of her. Is this how everything ends?
Have you ever thought about what our lives as Christians would look like if this was where it all ended? Christianity would be reduced to nothing without the resurrection because there would not be any hope. All the pain and suffering we endure during our lives would have no purpose. We would all find ourselves feeling like Mary Magdalene during the time she spent weeping outside the empty tomb: fearful, sad, hopeless and unaware of the beauty to come.
Saint John Paul II says, “We are an Easter people and Alleluia is our song.” What does this mean? We know life is not all beauty. Life has darkness, sin, poverty and pain. Jesus loves us so much he died for our sins, and I think too often we stop there. We stop after things become challenging and sad. Christ suffered for us and in return when we suffer we are able to share in his passion, but this is not all we have to look forward to. This is not the completion of the Paschal Mystery. The Paschal mystery is not only his suffering and death but his resurrection as well. It is through this mystery we are all able to share in his glory.
Christ’s resurrection gives Christians the hope we desperately need. This is the hope we have to cling to: the hope that there is always a Resurrection. One of my favorite authors writes, “Behind every trial and sorrow that He makes us shoulder, God has a reason.” This reason is not only to share in Jesus’ suffering, but also to purify us to live in eternal glory with the Father which is only possible because he conquered death.
Shortly after Mary Magdalene is overcome with sadness and grief, she finds herself running to embrace her risen Lord after he says her name, “Mary.” The same Jesus who called out Mary Magdalene’s name so she would recognize him is the same Jesus who holds his arms stretched out to you ready to embrace and comfort you. This is what the resurrection is all about.
The joy of the Resurrection does not end after Easter Sunday. If “we are an Easter people and Alleluia is our song,” then we cannot think about the resurrection only on Easter Sunday and during the Easter Octave. We must carry this news of the Resurrection with us throughout our entire lives. This joy we are experiencing now must remain in us, so we are always hopeful.
Christ is risen! Indeed, He is risen!
-Claire Ashworth, Media Outreach Coordinator