On the first day of the week, at the first sign of dawn, they went to the tomb with the spices they had prepared. They found that the stone had been rolled away from the tomb, but on entering discovered that the body of the Lord Jesus was not there. As they stood there not knowing what to think, two men in brilliant clothes suddenly appeared at their side. Terrified, the women lowered their eyes. But the two men said to them, ‘Why look among the dead for someone who is alive? He is not here; he has risen. Remember what he told you when he was still in Galilee: that the Son of Man had to be handed over into the power of sinful men and be crucified, and rise again on the third day?’ And they remembered his words.
When the women returned from the tomb they told all this to the Eleven and to all the others. The women were Mary of Magdala, Joanna, and Mary the mother of James. The other women with them also told the apostles, but this story of theirs seemed pure nonsense, and they did not believe them.
Peter, however, went running to the tomb. He bent down and saw the binding cloths but nothing else; he then went back home, amazed at what had happened.
Gospel for Easter Sunday
With what care Luke names the women – the first witnesses to the Lord’s rising.
Their witness was dismissed by the many – but (at least according to a verse retained in the Vulgate but absent from many contemporary translations – it stirred Peter to action, and allowed him to be amazed, troubled, wondering…
Later Simon seems to himself have encountered the risen Lord, and added his testimony to that of the women, (and this time persuading the rest of the men!
Admitting, opening oneself to, the experience of unease, amazement, uncertainty, paradoxically will often help us to discover and establish the firmest of foundations for faith.
St Mary Magdalene, St Peter – and all holy women and men – pray for us.
Carving. San Gregorio Magno al Celio. (c) 2005, Allen Morris.