In his Easter message last year, Pope Francis lamented the suffering of people because of the conflicts currently making headlines and he called for violence everywhere to end.
As I pondered this message, I was reminded of the command of Jesus as he stood outside the tomb of Lazarus: “Roll back the stone. Lazarus come out!” Death could not contain Lazarus! And in the Easter story, we discover the stone closing the tomb of Jesus had been rolled back but the body of Jesus was no longer there. The violence of the previous days had ended but death could not entomb Jesus.
Today, so many people are caring for the victims of violence. Like the women in the Easter story, we too show up with a desire to care for people. We too bring tenderness and compassion, skills and food, medicines and clothing. And like Pope Francis we too call for an end to violence.
Easter is a belief in the possibility of resurrection! It is celebrated in a season of spring when life rises out of winter’s death. It is a time when Spring proclaims death cannot be a permanent tomb, but rather becomes an awakening to new life. So too for the human person. Jesus is a proclamation of personal resurrection. Suffering and death will not be the final answer. Like the women in the resurrection story, we need to be messengers of this faith. We need to awaken to a life that is possible. It is a life of justice, compassion, and freedom from all tombs of enslavement for all people! It is Resurrection!
To the women who came to care for the body of Jesus we hear his words: “Don’t cling to me. Go and tell my disciples I have risen!” That is the message of Easter today. Don’t cling to hopelessness, to old messages of helplessness or overwhelm. Don’t be blind to old patterns of victimization. Work together for the new life Easter celebrates – a resurrected life.
May your Easter be a celebration of resurrection – for yourself and all of the people whose life you touch.