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An Easter Reflection

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Using the Sunday Easter readings (Acts 10:34a,37-43; Ps. 118:1-2,16-17,22-23; Col. 3:1-4; Jn. 20:1-9), Sr. Denise Pyles weaves a short and powerful reflection on the awesome nature of life and resurrection. Using some current expressions from a popular game show, the final answer is clear. Jesus Christ is risen! This reflection is suitable for faculties, school prayer, retreats, and the classroom during the Easter season.

I was living in Louisville, Kentucky, at the time my younger sister gave birth to her second child. I arrived at the hospital just shortly after she had the baby, and the nurses allowed me into the birthing room to see her. When I walked into the room, it was empty. My sister was in the other room taking a shower. She had just had the baby within the hour, and they hadn’t cleaned up. Sheets and towels were everywhere, and there was even fresh blood on the floor. I immediately stopped and looked around, for I was aware of the sacredness of life that had just begun in that place. New life happened in that room. It was evident from the strewn linens and the blood stains. I was in awe of the presence of God and the wonder of the sacred gift of life in that newborn child.

Similar are the baptismal waters that welcomed our newly elect and candidates into the church on Easter Vigil. These waters wash us into new life. In Baptism we immerse ourselves in the Paschal Mystery of Christ. We stand in awe of the gift of life with the Risen One.

Easter morning we celebrate the sacred wonder of the awesome gift of Jesus Christ on this day of Resurrection. We began the celebration of fifty days of feasting, of new life. After forty days of fasting, we can now say and sing loudly the "A" word–"Alleluia" in case anyone is confused.

In the Gospel of John, Mary of Magdala is the first of the disciples to encounter the empty tomb, to see the blood-stained linen wrappings from the Friday called Good, aware and yet fearful of the unknown that something awe-filled has happened. It is only when Jesus calls her by name that she recognizes the Risen One and embraces this new life in Christ. Thus she is sent forth on mission to share the Good News. Mary of Magdala embraces the One who calls her by name. Let us embrace the Risen One who calls each of us by name.

Resurrection brings a new presence to the sacred gift of life. Life is not taken away but forever changed in Jesus Christ. Even after the Resurrection, Jesus still carries the marks of the Crucifixion. The hands of Christ have nail marks, post-Resurrection scars. These nail marks remind us that Jesus does not forget us in our suffering. He who has "been there, done that" will do that again and again with us in our moments of agony and pain. For the Paschal Mystery, in all its fullness, continues throughout our lives.

Jesus is the very compassion of God, and through the power of the Resurrection, Jesus graces us with the freedom of new life. For God’s love cannot be pierced, broken, nailed, or entombed by any stone. Death is not the last word, but the last stone rolled away. Because this stone is rolled away, because of the Resurrection, Christ is present to us NOW.

So in the game of life, we can poll the audience, use our 50/50, and phone a friend. But no matter what, even when we’ve used all our lifelines, Jesus Christ is our never-ending lifeline to the very heart of God.

Like Mary of Magdala, we proclaim, "We have seen the Risen One. The stone has been rolled away. Alleluia. Alleluia." And that’s my final answer.

Acknowledgments

Published April 23, 2000.