Spreading the spirit of hope
Some 2,000 years ago, an itinerant preacher in the Middle East was crucified for, as his executioners put it, claiming to be a king.
There was no immediate worldwide news coverage of the event. There were no live images beamed to televisions, tablets and cell phones around the world, no tweets, no texts, no Facebook posts carrying the news of his execution at the hands of the powerful Roman state at the request of the Hebrew state under its control. There were no 24-hour news channels and no grim-faced anchormen and women providing background, and there was no analysis from hundreds of “experts” who were interviewed for days on end to put the event into “perspective.”
Yet, the words of this rabbi and the story of his death and his resurrection, which Christians celebrate today, Easter Sunday, have resonated across the millennia.
They represent a roadmap toward change in the world, change in the way human beings treat each other and change in the priorities people and nations and states set for themselves. They offer hope to a world that continually faces the madness of wars, disasters and destruction.
It is in that spirit of hope, that Jesus Christ broke the bonds of death to prove there is life after life and to show the way toward something greater than the here and now, that we present these verses from the Gospel of St. Luke today:
(The story of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ as told in the New American Standard Bible, Luke 24)
But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared.
And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.
While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men suddenly stood near them in dazzling clothing; and as the women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the Living One among the dead?
“He is not here, but He has risen.
Remember how He spoke to you while He was still in Galilee, saying that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.”
And they remembered His words, and returned from the tomb and reported all these things to the 11 and to all the rest.
Now they were Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James; also the other women with them were telling these things to the apostles.
But these words appeared to them as nonsense, and they would not believe them.
But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen wrappings only; and he went away to his home, marveling at what had happened.