Alarmed by Mary of Magdala, Peter and the other Apostle run to Christ’s tomb to check out what has happened there. After the drama of Our Lord’s Passion and uncertainty for their future, another potential tragedy is expected – the stealing of the body. This time, however, they are ready to understand the Lord’s teaching – the teaching passed to them by Jesus throughout the last three years of His public ministry and preaching of the Kingdom of God. The future encounters with the Risen Christ will make them gradually understand the history of salvation at its summit moment. And, as with many long-expected events in our lives, the resurrection is a new beginning rather than the final stage of the Apostles and the Church’s mission.
My spiritual director often repeats in this time between Lent and Eastertide that we do well in passing through Lent because, in a way, we are guided by the Church’s wisdom of encouragement to pray, fast, or give alms. But, as he says, often we are not so successful in celebrating Easter and the Eastertide – the most important time in the year. It is good to think about it as we rightly glorify the Lord for His resurrection, spend time with our families celebrating Easter, and rejoice in this joyous time. However, we can reflect on whether this time of the next few weeks of the Resurrection the Church gives us will be any different. How the experience of this Easter changes us and gives us strength to lead our Christian life? Finally, what our Lenten preparation for Easter gave me? We can give up sweets or meat, pray more or help others, but it is good to reflect on how that experience of spiritual exercises actually shaped our relationship with God.
If we look at the Apostles, many of them did not seem to be well prepared to meet Jesus again after His death. Some feared society; some went back to their places to carry on the previous life, as Jesus had been gone forever. For us Christians, Easter can and maybe even should become the feast of hope and strengthening our faith in Christ, who, indeed, is alive. We do not need to despair anymore. We do not need to see our eternal future as uncertain because He lives! Now, the way we celebrate that fact and how it changes our lives is very much a matter of our choice. Let us start with the Eastertide. How will I celebrate Christ’s resurrection?
Seminary of the Good Shepherd, Sydney, Australia