Three Gospel readings are provided for use on Easter Day – one reserved for the evening of that day, the story of the journey to Emmaus.
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.
The story is filled with detail – the names of the women, their experience, their astonishment and confusioni, the doubt their story met with, and the impetuous running of Peter, (alone, here), to the tomb.
This is no ordinary tale, no ordinary experience. The Resurrection moves the boundaries so far as human living is understood: we are no long as constrained as we thought.
Sarcophagus of the Resurrection – sadly not showing the women! Vatican Museum. (c) 2016, Allen Morris.