Gospel reading: Sunday 4 April 2021

WelCom April 2021 Easter Sunday – the resurrection John 20: 1-9 1 On the first day of the week, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning,…

WelCom April 2021

Easter Sunday – the resurrection

John 20: 1-9

1 On the first day of the week, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning, while it was still dark, and saw the stone removed from the tomb. 2 So she ran and went to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them, ‘They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they put him.’ 3 So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb.4 They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter and arrived at the tomb first; 5 he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in. 6 When Simon Peter arrived after him, he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there, 7 and the cloth that had covered his head, not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place. 8 Then the other disciple also went in, the one who had arrived at the tomb first, and he saw and believed. 9 For they did not yet understand the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead. 

The empty tomb

A reflection on John 20: 1-9

Tom Gibson

It was still dark early on Easter Sunday morning, when Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Salome arrived at the tomb. They were loaded with linen, oil and perfume because they came to bury Jesus properly. When they arrived, they saw the stone had already been moved from the entrance. They returned to Peter who was following them, telling him that the Lord had been taken from the tomb and they had no idea where he was. John, coming after Peter, also heard of the missing Saviour and they both ran towards the tomb. However, John the younger man arrived at the tomb ahead of Peter, saw the folded clothes but did not enter. When Peter arrived, he went straight in and saw the tomb empty except for the folded clothes. 

Easter is about Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. This is the key to our salvation. But today’s gospel is about what happened to his followers who found the empty tomb. Certainly, something had happened to Jesus, but the last sentence of today’s gospel leaves us wondering what his followers really knew. That was the moment when those present first understood that for Jesus to live – he had first to die. 

Easter was the source and summit event in the life of Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. His Resurrection on Easter Sunday is an event we Catholics celebrate all year round. The whole of the bible story leads us up to this great event.

What happened to the good people after their experience at the tomb that Easter day? Did they really believe Jesus had actually risen from the dead? What they did realise when they saw Jesus in the flesh was that all his messages were correct. He had told them that good would overcome evil and light would overcome darkness. Real spiritual death would disappear. They not only believed this new gospel; they told others about it and they were prepared to give their lives as a conviction of their belief. Now they were beginning to understand that, like their Lord, they too had to first die before they could fully experience the real life that Christ had introduced them to.

As we remember the Easter story, let’s think about some things that Christ might call us to die for, so that we also may fully enjoy his life and all its real benefits.

Tom Gibson is a retired dairy farmer and a parishioner at Immaculate Conception Parish, Taranaki.