Do you recall several years ago reading about an 18-month old girl, Jessica McClure, who had tumbled down an abandoned well shaft? Nobody knew how she managed to fall through an 8-inch, coffee-can size opening into the 22-foot shaft in the hard rock. For 58 desperate hours people rallied round and literally clawed their way to rescue her while the eyes of the nation prayerfully watched the effort. When, finally, a paramedic emerged with the child, there were shouts of joy and thanksgiving. Someone held a banner and the cameras relayed its message to the nation: “Stop weeping, America, Jessica is alive and well.” The message was on target: why weep when death has been defeated and life is restored? It was actually the message of Easter.
St. John tells us how Mary Magdalene stood weeping beside the tomb of Jesus on that first Easter morning. The two angels at the tomb asked her: “Woman, why are you weeping?” As she turned around,
Jesus was standing there asking her the same question. He knew too well that there was a time to weep and a time to shed tears. But here His question seems to suggest that this was not the time to weep. Obviously, she was shedding Good Friday’s tears. But this was Easter Sunday. Good Friday was now over. Now, there is only an empty tomb, a glorious resurrection.
But all this may seem easier said than done. Our memory can be like some ache, a habit that isn’t easily kicked. The more painful the memory, the harder it is to shed – childhood hurts, last year’s loss, yesterday’s death are like some images indelibly etched in our memories. They do not go away; and we are not even certain whether they should go away. In any case, how do we go about – even if we want to – stopping the tears and preventing the trembling when our heart is breaking with the weight of memory? And with the memory comes the fear of the unknown – will it happen again? But here enters the powerful message of the Resurrection of Jesus. What it does is to provide meaning, purpose and certainty to our choices. Resurrection provides the reason for living by taking away our fears and offering new hope.
The Resurrection’s greatest gift is hope. Life can become boring and meaningless in the absence of hope. The Resurrection changed all that. Now life would become a walk with a very good friend – Jesus.
But the gift that the Resurrection brings is for those who join their lives to Jesus. Even before His death, He told this secret to Martha and Mary at Bethany: “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, though he should die, will come to life; and whoever is alive and believes in me will never die.” Yes, whoever believes in Him is given the gift of eternal life.
The Resurrection is so tremendous and mind-boggling in its implications. You see, the great mystery of God’s love is that He loves each and every one of us as persons. His love is for you and for me. God loves me, God loves you, He died for me and He died for you, He rose for me and He rose for you. What greater reason for rejoicing.
So why are you weeping? By dying He has destroyed our death and by rising He has restored our lives forever.