We were created for joy. You never hear someone say, “You know, this whole joy thing is not for me. I wish I had a little bit more misery in my life.” We are created for joy, but we come to realize that it’s not something we can just buy at the local Store. Think about the most joyful moments of your life. Isn’t it true that they were a surprise? The gospel gives us an idea of the surprise of discovering the empty tomb. Mary Magdalene had been there at the foot of the Cross. She had seen Jesus die. Crucifixion was not a joke. It was such a horrible way to die that the Romans eventually outlawed it. So Mary Magdalene was not expecting an empty tomb. She knew that Jesus had really died. So when she sees the empty tomb she doesn’t know what to make of it. So she runs and tells Peter and John. They both run to the tomb. Apparently John had been more faithful to his Insanity workouts than Peter, and he beat him to the tomb. He looks in, and then he waits for Peter. Peter was appointed the first Pope and so John wanted to let him go in first. Peter enters the tomb, and then John goes in. What they saw surprised them. Or better said, what they didn’t see surprised them. The body of Jesus was gone. The burial clothing was there, but the body was gone. Actually the Greek says that the burial clothing was lying there in its folds. It seemed that the body of Jesus had just evaporated and left the clothes lying there as though there were still a body. But there was no body. Imagine their surprise. What has happened here? Then the gospel says that John saw and believed, he believed that Jesus had risen from the dead! The surprise must have overwhelmed him, as he began to believe, he was filled with joy. Joy is the best response to Easter. Who could have ever imagined that death could be conquered? That’s what Easter means. Your death and my death is not the end. Just as Jesus rose from the dead we will rise from the dead. Body and soul, we will live forever. Suffering does not have the last word. Death does not have the last word. The love of God, given to us in Jesus Christ has the last word. This is why the Psalm today shouts out: “This is the day the Lord has made, let us REJOICE and be glad!” On Easter, we also are surprised by the presence of the Risen Jesus, we too are filled with Joy. When we realize the gift of Easter, joy is the best response.
Easter Blessings to you and your family,
Deacon Mark Ruiz