From the Director: Easter 2018

Easter greetings from the Archbishop Brunett Retreat Center:

He is risen! He is risen, indeed!

   Patrick Sharkey

In preparing for the Easter Triduum, and in reading the Easter Vigil readings, I was struck this year by the faith of the women in the Vigil’s Gospel passage. Mary Magdalene, Mary, the mother of James, and Salome arise the first Easter morning to go and anoint Christ’s body in the tomb (Mk 16: 1-7). However, we read in the verse before that the two Marys watched where Joseph of Arimathea lay Jesus (Mk 15:47), so they must have known that a “very large” stone had been placed to block the entrance to the tomb. It’s almost comical to read that after buying the expensive burial spices, getting up early in the morning, and walking outside of the city walls to the tomb, they finally stop to consider, “Who will roll back the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” We might read this passage and say that these pious women were putting the proverbial cart before the horse, but I think that we should not be so quick to judge them. 

Joseph had to hurry to place Jesus’s body into the tomb before the Sabbath began at sundown on Good Friday. Jewish law said no work could be done on the Sabbath, and Joseph did not have time for the customary anointing of Jesus’s body before rolling the stone in front of the tomb. We can imagine how Mary Magdalene, Mary, the mother of James, and Salome, must have agonized all of that first Holy Saturday. Not only had they watched their Lord be crucified, but they had not had the opportunity to properly lay him to rest. All that day they must have counted down the hours till they could return to the tomb and anoint Jesus properly. It’s beautiful to think that, though unknown to them, they were also counting down to the first Easter morning. We should follow their example and agonize in anticipation of rising on Easter morning.

Finally, these women in great faith do not concern themselves with the obstacles to the task they’d been given. They do not spend time making sure everything is planned out, that every contingency has been accounted for. Rather, consumed with their love for Christ, they forget anything that would keep them from Him, even a very large stone. They rush out first thing in the morning and we rejoice to read the women’s’ faith and devotion do not go unrewarded. The stone, and even death, no longer separate them from Christ. Let us, too, rush out this Easter morning, inspired by their example, and go looking for Jesus. Whatever it is that separates us from Him, no matter how great and immovable it might seem, He will remove it if we arise and go to him. Brothers and Sisters, He is waiting for us. He has risen. He is risen, indeed! 

Wishing you many blessings this Easter,

Patrick Sharkey

 

Questions or comments? You may contact Patrick at patrick.sharkey@seattlearch.org.