It was just too good to be true. Peter and John get to the tomb, and Mary Magdalene had got there first, and they had no expectation that the tomb would be empty. As John remarked at the end of the Gospel, “Jesus had told them, but they had never understood what he meant,” so they’re shocked. They don’t know what to do.
And if we let the reality of what happened that Sunday morning sink into our own awareness, we, too, I think, will be shocked. Could it really happen? Is death overcome? Did Jesus bring victory over sin and evil? And the answer, of course, is yes. And if we take a few moments now to reflect a bit on the Scriptures and on this whole incident, we not only will perhaps come to a deeper awareness and conviction that Jesus is alive, but we’ll also understand in some ways how that should change the way you and I live.
You may be aware that Pope Francis has written a beautiful — well, what he calls an exhortation to the whole church. It’s called “The Joy of the Gospel.” And when you read it, it’s almost like — I was thinking of this because of the basketball game yesterday, and the coaches giving them pep talks to their teams and so on. It’s like Pope Francis is giving us a pep talk, “How to be a Christian,” and what the real message of the Gospel is, and why it should bring great joy to us….