By Sister Elizabeth Langmead, MHSH Vice President
In preparing to write this blog for Easter, I have sat and prayed with the grief of my sister’s death last month and the deaths of other loved ones. Our own experiences of suffering and grief inform our hearing the story of how the women came to the tomb that first morning of the week.
We know the anguish of their sorrow…we feel their bewilderment and emptiness. And what did they find? They found the empty tomb! Yes, Easter is about the empty tomb. Death is not the final word. Each of the four evangelists expresses this slightly differently; however, the final word is Resurrection – new life. The emptiness gives way to something new…something unimaginable, something beyond words!
Our Catholic Church has just recently experienced the new life evidenced in the election of Pope Francis. Into the empty space left by Pope Benedict, a new Pope has been chosen. Pope Francis called upon the throngs of people to bless him before he gave the papal blessing – many have commented on the newness of this action. This new pope has inspired conversations of new hopes for the Church and new promises for ways of witnessing to the marginalized.
So, the question for me and indeed for all of us who profess to be followers of Jesus, is “Do we/do I believe in the empty tomb? Do we/do I believe in the something new beyond the emptiness?” Was that what I glimpsed in the new life of my sister’s grandson…a life that arrived the very day we buried her?
As my family gathered and shared photos and stories, was the momentary joy I experienced a glimpse of her new, eternal life? Our readings and songs this Easter season proclaim that the Lord is risen just as He foretold…that the Light shines on in the darkness and the darkness has never overcome the Light; and that all the earth sings an alleluia song because indeed Jesus is risen.
So, as we witness the miracles of new life among us, as we experience the joys of springtime breaking though the desolation of winter, we remember the grief and sorrow of loss and hang onto the promises that Jesus has overcome death and promises that we and our loved ones will experience resurrection as well.
–Where in your life have you/do you experience the empty tomb?
–When in your life have you experienced new life coming from that empty space inside?
–Where in your life are you being called to make space for the new that is coming?
–How does believing in the Resurrection manifest itself in your life?