Easter: Invitation to Joy

Today’s feast gives us reasons for joy, even if we think things look grim. Despite persuasive evidence of tragedy or sorrow, Easter fulfills promises so daring, we yearn to believe them. Light conquers darkness, death is not final, we will live eternally and meet our deceased loved ones again.

Indeed, “there is cause for rejoicing here” (1 Peter 1:6) So much good news, in fact, may seem overwhelming. Since we have limited capacity to absorb all this, the church wisely presents it in narrative form. We hear the story of ordinary human beings like ourselves. Mary Magdalene, Simon Peter and the beloved disciple have all been through a grueling ordeal, watching the torture and murder of their beloved leader, Jesus. They had seen their high hopes perish and his vibrant life extinguished. People who are depressed rarely have much energy—daily chores like getting out of bed or taking a shower become formidable obstacles.

For that reason, it’s interesting that the verb repeated twice is “run.” Mary runs to tell Peter, and the two men run to the tomb. This sudden burst of energy may be a tribute to the power of hope. Perhaps at first they simply wonder who has taken the Lord from the tomb. It is a measure of their devotion to Jesus that they overcome a natural apathy and race to discover what has happened.

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