After the sabbath, and towards dawn on the first day of the week, Mary of Magdala and the other Mary went to visit the sepulchre. And all at once there was a violent earthquake, for the angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled away the stone and sat on it. His face was like lightning, his robe white as snow. The guards were so shaken, so frightened of him, that they were like dead men. But the angel spoke; and he said to the women, ‘There is no need for you to be afraid. I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said he would. Come and see the place where he lay, then go quickly and tell his disciples, “He has risen from the dead and now he is going before you to Galilee; it is there you will see him.” Now I have told you.’ Filled with awe and great joy the women came quickly away from the tomb and ran to tell the disciples.
And there, coming to meet them, was Jesus. ‘Greetings’ he said. And the women came up to him and, falling down before him, clasped his feet. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers that they must leave for Galilee; they will see me there.’
The above gospel passage is one of the two alternatives for Easter Sunday morning – and a third is provided for Mass on Easter Sunday evening.
We have not yet begun the Triduum, so it can seem odd to be considering stories of the Resurrection. Yet, note the repeated urging in the gospel reading: ‘Do not be afraid’.
The Lord lived and died and rose again to save us from shadows, darkness, sin and fear.
Jesus faced his fears in his Passion, and renewed his obedience to the Father’s will, finding there his ultimate security – a safety that conquered death and restored him to life.
- What fears diminish and restrict you?
- Bring them to the Lord in prayer in these coming days, asking for his help, that you be not afraid…
Ivory carving of the two Mary’s: collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. (c) 2007, Allen Morris