- Acts of the Apostles 10:34-43 or
- Isaiah 65:17-25
- Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24
- I Corinthians 15:19-26
- Luke 24:1-10
In the Palestinian culture of the time, it was the task of the women to prepare the bodies of the dead for burial. When Jesus was taken down from the cross, the Sabbath was about to begin. Because of the prohibitions against work on this day, there had not been time for Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women to complete this final service for Jesus. Thus they came at dawn on Sunday morning to the tomb where Joseph of Arimathea had placed the Lord’s body.
When the women arrived, they found the stone enclosing the tomb rolled aside. Matthew’s account at this point is very dramatic, with an earthquake and an angel appearing to roll back the stone (Matthew 28:2).
When the women stepped inside the tomb, they saw that the body was missing. Luke tells us that they were “perplexed about this” (24:4). As they stood, puzzled, “two men in dazzling clothes” appeared beside them. The women were terrified and turned their faces to the ground. They asked the women why they were seeking “the living among the dead?” – for “He is not here, but has risen (v. 5) and remind them of Jesus’ prediction of his Passion when they were together in Galilee.
Throughout his Gospel, Luke has been reminding us of Jesus’ role as a prophet. It is through remembering his prophecies that he would die and rise again that the women come to believe, and thus they tell others. Luke show us how these women have been faithful followers, throughout Jesus’ ministry and now they are the first to bear witness to the Resurrection. They are the first proclaimers of the miracle of Easter.
As the central event of Christianity, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is the glorious manifestation of the victory of God’s love. Hope has prevailed over death and despair, and Christ has brought the promise of everlasting life to the world.
Alleluia! Christ is risen. The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia!
- As you read the Gospel passage, try to imagine that you are one of the women who went to the tomb. How would you describe your thoughts and feelings as the events unfold? Contrast how you felt as you approached the tomb with how you felt as you returned to tell the other disciples.
- Why do you think the rest of the disciples respond to the women’s news with disbelief? To what degree is your experience more believable than even an eyewitness account from someone else? What does that suggest about how you share news of Jesus today?
- When the women returned from the tomb, how do you think they would have explained to the others what had just happened? How do we tell the story of what happened on Easter to others today?
- What do the other passages from today tell us about what it means to live as followers of Jesus after Easter?
- During the Eucharist we proclaim that, “Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.” As you read these words on this Easter Sunday, what added significance do that have for you?
- How are we as individuals, as well as the world, changed by the events of Easter?
Image: ANGELICO, Fra Resurrection of Christ and Women at the Tomb Fresco, 189 x 164 cm Convento di San Marco, Florence (Photo credit: Wikipedia)