Easter Sunday 2020, Acts 10:34a, 37-43; Col 3:1-4, Jn 20:1-9
We hear in the Gospel for Easter morning that Mary Magdalene arrives at the tomb alone. She jumps to the conclusion that the body is gone because the stone has been rolled back, and she shares that conclusion with Peter and John. If we read a little further, we hear how after Peter and John leave the tomb, Mary saw two angels and then encountered Jesus, recognizing him only after he calls her by name.
For Jesus and Mary, this is not just a moment in time, an event that happens and nothing comes of it. It cannot be for us either.
On Good Friday, there was fear and isolation. After the crucifixion, the disciples all gathered in one place behind locked doors for fear of the Jews. Sounds a little bit like us and COVID-19. We know Thomas ventured out because he wasn’t there that evening when Jesus appeared to the disciples, and Mary left to visit the tomb.
In her encounter with the risen Lord, she is transformed from not knowing where Jesus is (verses 2, 13, 15) to proclaiming him risen (verse 18). The Resurrection of Jesus changed Mary’s life forever, not only from the outside but from within as well. After Jesus calls her by name, he sends Mary to the other apostles. Mary no longer lives in the fear of Good Friday; she lives in the joy of Easter.
In a world where a woman’s word was not taken seriously, a woman is chosen to be the first to proclaim the Resurrection. Like the Samaritan woman at the well, there is no hesitation. That’s the result of experiencing the Resurrection — complete and certain response to Jesus’ command to share the good news of the Resurrection with others.
In the context of our lives, we must determine how we answer Jesus’ call and respond. The Resurrection gives meaning to everything Jesus did before that day and changes us from Good Friday people to Easter people.
What is the result of your Easter experience? Even though it may be a different sort of Easter than we’ve ever experienced, it will happen. One ad that just passed through my computer this morning proclaimed, “Easter’s Happening, No matter what!”
While there may be no large gatherings as communities of faith to celebrate the Resurrection and many people will be missing from our celebrations, the Resurrection happens. It happens every time we celebrate the Eucharist, every time we reach out to one another.
We venture out from our isolation for work and necessities such as food, drink, medicine. We can also venture out, literally or electronically, in a socially responsible way to those who are the most at risk – to parents who are self-quarantined with children out of school or others who need someone with whom to talk.
Hearing the voice of another person makes people feel less isolated and in a small way enables them to experience resurrection in their lives. When this crisis is over, we will continue this in our daily lives just as Peter and the apostles did.
Jesus calls us by name just as he called Mary by name. Just as Mary was sent by Jesus to proclaim the Resurrection to the apostles, we are sent to proclaim this news to the world. We are called to the Resurrection, to live as Easter people.
Deacon Christopher Colville serves at Church of the Redeemer, Mechanicsville.