Gospel Reflection for Sunday the 17th of April 2022 Easter Sunday

Gospel Reflection for  Sunday the 17th of April 2022

Easter Sunday

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John 20:1-9


St John ran with Peter after Mary Magdalene had brought the news of the empty tomb. What feelings were going through him? Excitement, wonder, hope? He arrived and saw the cloth, and when he went in he saw and he believed.

What did he see? Why did he believe?

To an extent this is such an anticlimax! We celebrate the absence of something, or do we? Did St John encounter it as an absence or the confirmation of the presence that from then on will (continue to) define his life?

So to us, the question is always there, what difference does the EMPTY tomb make. Because that is at the centre of it all. The emptiness is not an emptiness, but a fullness once we recognise like St John what it means and what the consequences are.

Maybe it is bold to say, but maybe it is really showing that it is not in the things in this world that happiness is achieved. It is not in the things in this world that ultimately fulfilment is found, it satisfies us to an extent, but there is always this promise of more. It is imperfect, and what we desire is perfect, lasting, eternal, and the promise of this comes with the empty tomb.

The Good News of the empty tomb is that all our desires can be satisfied, and that the journey we are on does have a point. We need to recognise it, like John recognised in the empty tomb the fulfilment of what deep down he already knew. It is not always as we initially expect, but appears in a different way, and the question is if we can recognise those moments, as St John did, informed deep down by our Faith. The promise found in the empty tomb opens up the road to a fulness of experience that transcends the experience of the apostles when Jesus was with them for the three years of His ministry.

Only in the view of the new reality of Easter, and as such the Resurrection, can the puzzle of life really be solved. It is through the mystery of the incarnation. The Word became flesh and took on our mortality and through the mystery of the sacrifice on the cross shares now His own immortality with us. The desire for the infinite can now be satisfied through uniting ourselves with this mystery. That is why this is the biggest celebration of the year, that is why this is such a blessed time.

The resurrection is not a resuscitated body. That would be meaningless. What would it stand for? The new life of the resurrection is new, death is no more. It is not always directly recognised, and it might be unfamiliar: Mary Magdalen did not recognise Jesus initially, and the disciples on the road the Emmaus only recognised Him in the breaking of bread. It is something completely new! Something to surprise us, to cease our heart as the unexpected look into somebody`s eyes can do.

So at this time, open your heart to the love of God. Let go of expectations, but let the empty tomb speak in a way that surprise us as God makes known His presence to us in our hearts.

-Fr Luuk Jansen O.P.