These words for contemplation are the first part of today’s meditation from In Conversation with God, Volume Two.
The Lord has indeed risen, alleluia. Glory and kingship be his for ever and ever.
When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalen and Mary, the mother of James, and Salome brought spices with which to go and anoint the dead body of Jesus.' Very early on the following day, just as the sun is rising, they come to the tomb (Mark 16:1-2). And on entering it they are dismayed, for they cannot find the body of our Lord. A youth, clothed in white, says to them: 'Do not be afraid. I know you seek Jesus of Nazareth: non est hic, surrexit enim sicut dixit - he is not here, for he has risen, as he said (Matt 28:5).’
He has risen! Jesus has risen: He is not in the tomb. Life has overcome death.
The glorious resurrection of the Lord is the key to interpreting his whole life, and the ground of our faith. Without this victory over death, says St Paul, all our preaching would be useless and our faith in vain. Furthermore, the guarantee of our future resurrection is secured upon the resurrection of Christ, because although we were dead through sin, God, full of mercy, moved by the infinite compassion with which he loved, gave us Christ ... and He raised us with him. Easter is the celebration of our Redemption, and therefore the celebration of thanksgiving and joy.
The Resurrection of the Lord is a central reality of theCatholic faith, and has been preached as such since the beginning of Christianity. The importance of this miracle is so great that the Apostles are, above all else, witnesses of Jesus' resurrection. They announce that Christ is alive, and this becomes the nucleus of all their preaching. After twenty centuries this is what we announce to the world: Christ lives! The fact of the resurrection is the supreme argument for the divinity of Our Lord.
After arising by his own power, Jesus, glorious, was seen by the disciples, who were able to ascertain that it was He: they were able to talk with him, they saw him eat, they saw the marks of the nails and the lance ... The Apostles declare that He manifested himself to them with numerous proofs, and many of these men died testifying to this truth.
Jesus Christ lives. And this crowns us with happiness. This is the great truth which fills our faith with meaning. Jesus, who died on the cross, has risen. He has triumphed over death; he has overcome sorrow, anguish and the power of darkness ... In him we find everything Outside of him our life is empty.
He appeared to his most holy Mother. He appeared to Mary of Magdala, who is carried away by love. And to Peter and the rest of the Apostles. And to you and me, who are his disciples and more in love than Mary Magdalen… the things we say to him!
May we never die through sin: may our spiritual resurrection be eternal... You have kissed the wounds in his feet... and I, more daring because I am more a child - have placed my lips upon his open side.