by Bishop Thomas Gumbleton
Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace
First let me extend everyone here, to the whole parish family of St. Philomena, my own prayers that each of you will celebrate a most joyful and peaceful Easter, the victory of Jesus over death. As we celebrate this feast, I have a sense that we take it too much for granted. We talk about the Easter mystery, which means the sufferings, the death, and the resurrection of Jesus. We say those words so easily as though it’s just kind of a normal thing that someone rises from the dead, but it wasn’t and isn’t.
Those first disciples really had no clue. In the other Gospel accounts, in Mark’s especially, the disciples come to the tomb and after they discover that the body is gone (it’s women disciples that do this) they’re all upset and they just leave without saying anything to anybody. They don’t know what to do. Today we hear about Mary Magdalene coming to the tomb and being upset. At least she runs and gets Peter and John and they come back to see what’s going on, but they too leave. Nothing seems to change.
It took a long time for the disciples to begin to understand what Jesus had told them. He had said that the Son of Man is going up to Jerusalem, be handed over to his enemy, be tortured, executed, but then rise from the dead, “I will be lifted up.” But they never, never really understood what he meant. So when this happens, they were just clueless. They might have thought (and maybe some of us think this way) that Jesus was talking about what we would call a resuscitation.
In other words, when someone goes into a deep, deep coma, appears to be dead, but then comes back to life. There are a couple of examples of that in the Gospels where Jesus resuscitates someone and they come back to a normal life like it was before. But this isn’t a resuscitation. There’s something totally different about the resurrection of Jesus. He had been dead; now he’s alive, but in a totally different form, a different way...