“… she ran …”
Mary Magdalene hastens to the tomb in the darkness before dawn. She cannot remain alone; she cannot hold back her longing to be near her beloved; she cannot wait for dawn. Mary is the model for all of us who must rouse our love in the sleepy hours of the night, when we feel cold, alone, perhaps abandoned by God, who seems to have failed us and all our dreams. She leads us by the hand, urging us to rouse our love and seek for God when he seems to have died and left us behind.
This Gospel passage is full of love’s running haste. Mary runs to Peter and John, fearing that after Jesus’ death she may have lost his body also, the last remaining physical connection to him. Peter and John run to the tomb.
What is Peter thinking? Is he pondering the burden of leadership now that Jesus has died, wondering how to handle it? Or does he faintly hope that his Master, who had claimed he was God’s Son, will surprise them in a wonderful way?
John runs faster. Is it only because he is younger? Or does he—the disciple whom Jesus loved, the only apostle who kept vigil on Calvary as Jesus hung dying on the cross—does he keep love burning in his heart? Does he hold onto a love that can see beyond the dark days and hope in God’s power to raise from the dead? John is the first one who sees the burial cloths and believes.
Mary, Peter, and John teach us to run in hope, in love, and in belief. We need to run first, even in the dark, to search for the Lord, to commit our hearts to love, and then we will witness the Living Christ in our midst. The resurrection means that Jesus lives—here, now, forever—and has taken us to live as his brothers and sisters, sons and daughters of the Father, for all eternity.
Lord, my Love, may I seek you in haste in the darkest days of my life. May my heart thrill at the empty tombs in my life where I discover the power of your strength and see the weight of your glory. O Risen One, may I know you alive in my life, in the world, in the Church, in the Eucharist, at the right hand of the Father. Amen.
I will awake the dawn.
Daughters of Saint Paul. (2011). Easter Grace: Daily Gospel Reflections. (M. G. Dateno & M. L. Trouvé, Eds.) (pp. 6–7). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.