Eggs! Bunnies!! Candy!!! The students screamed to their frustrated teacher who had simply asked, “What is Easter about?” Finally Mikey, who was always quiet, raised his hand and said, “It is about Jesus. He died for us, was buried, and rose from the dead and if he sees his shadow he goes back into the tomb for six more weeks.”
Today’s gospel, gives us a very familiar story. Mary of Magdala comes to the tomb and finds it open and empty. What she says to the apostles is the source of my reflection: “They have taken the Lord from the tomb and we don’t know where to find him.” In another gospel we hear Jesus ask, “Woman, why are you weeping?” The response is the same, yet personal – “They have taken my Lord and I don’t know where to find him.” I don’t know about you but Easter is a very personal family time. We would gather at the family home, perhaps an Easter egg hunt for the children of all ages, and we would try to set aside pettiness and celebrate. We knew where to go and who would be there and even where they would sit at the table.
Not this year. This year is different. “They have taken my Lord from the tomb and I don’t know where to find him.” It is about as personal as you can get. We are past the Easter bonnets (those too young to remember – it was quite the sight), eggs, bunnies, and candy. Those items gone expose the real significance of Easter for me: Jesus is alive and well and those I love and cherish really are important. Hidden in the normal way, it is all there – if I am willing to see it. I can image John, the beloved disciple, picking up the cloths Jesus was wrapped in and smelling them – not for what was but for what is – the love of a dear friend.
Maybe this year in the shadow of past Easters we can remember that along with God being present so are those dear to us, living and dead. The spirit we learned from our families and friends is hidden only if we chose not to see it. Funny how Jesus’ followers looked all over and it was when they stopped, he appeared in their midst.