Year B, The Easter Sunday Mass

It was very early on the first day of the week and still dark...

April 23, 2000


Ronald D. Curley

TEXT: The Holy Gospel According to Saint John 20:1-9

Last night we heard the words, "Rejoice, O Earth, in shining splendor, radiant in the brightness of your King! Christ has conquered! Glory fills you! Darkness vanishes for ever!"

How differently the world's view is of what things are important in life.

Yesterday many in the world celebrated Earth Day in honor of Mother Earth. They did this for the most part to the exclusion of the Lord God and the Creator of Heavens and the Earth and lauded great words upon the Earth as our true Mother in typical new age hyperbole.

Ironically, it is only Christians who have a true understanding of the worldview we need to have if we are to "rejoice" with the Earth. Our Hope and Joy is the reality of the Glorious Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ from the dead. Therefore, with the singer of the Acclamation, the "Exultet," we may also proclaim -- Rejoice, O Earth, in shining splendor, radiant in the brightness of your King! Christ has conquered! Glory fills you! Darkness vanishes forever!

Mary Magdalene went to the tomb where the Body of Jesus had been laid to rest very early in the morning while it was still dark.

1 Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb.

She alone saw that the stone had been taken away and that the door was open and there was no Jesus within that tomb.

2 So she ran, and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him."

It was to St. Pope Peter that she ran, for he was the one in authority as our Lord had commanded and ordained him. May God grant us the wisdom to turn to Peter's Chair when we have questions and seek understanding? May we be ever so bold to proclaim this to others who falter on this point? This Mary understood Peter's role.

It was St. Peter who responded to see what was the matter.

3 Peter then came out with the other disciple, and they went toward the tomb.

4 They both ran, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first;

5 and stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in.

All around us there is darkness and we have the light of the Glorious Resurrection hidden in our hearts. Beloved, what glory to know Christ Jesus, not a dead man, but, the LIVING Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ we know through the witness here of Peter, John and Mary.

St. John peered into the tomb, but, it was St. Peter who went into the tomb. May we ever have those two charisms, the contemplative and the apostolic which work together to push forward and also wait at the door and gaze into the tomb that is now empty?

6 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; he saw the linen cloths lying,

7 and the napkin, which had been on his head, not lying with the linen cloths but rolled up in a place by itself.

The beauty of this is overwhelming to me. Here we have the linen cloths lying there, but, then there was the "napkin" which had been over the face of Jesus. Now, it was neatly laid to one side by the hands of the One who had been crucified upon the Cross. It was now that these hands had in perfect control of their function, laid the cloth aside neatly for St. peter and John to witness that we might know in the darkness of our own world.

Truly the Light has shined in the darkness and the darkness was not able to overcome the Light!

8 Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed;

We see and we believe. We see with eyes of faith and we believe through the power of God who gives us the grace to believe. Thanks be to God.

9 for as yet they did not know the scripture, that he must rise from the dead.

Beloved, today, St. John who writes these words to you and me knows the scriptures well. He proclaims what the Old Testament foretold from the beginning in Genesis 1:1-3. It is God who brings order from the chaos. It is God alone who brings light from the darkness. It is God who always brings the new morning, the dawning of a new day, after the long night is spent and our souls are weary, but God gives more grace on graces through Mary our Mother.

WE are never alone.

God has not left us comfortless.

Indeed, our Lord (the Father and the Son) has sent the Holy Spirit to be our Comforter that we might know what Mary Magdalene and these disciples knew - that Jesus Christ brings in the new day, a better age than our worn out tern "new age." No, our Lord brings is the best at last and shows us that we too might sing and say with the Cantor - "Rejoice, O Earth, in shining splendor, radiant in the brightness of your King! Christ has conquered! Glory fills you! Darkness vanishes for ever!"

Deus et Sanctissima.