AND in the end of the sabbath, when it began to dawn towards the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalen and the other Mary, to see the sepulchre. And behold there was a great earthquake. For an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and coming, rolled back the stone, and sat upon it. And his countenance was as lightning, and his raiment as snow. And for fear of him, the guards were struck with terror, and became as dead men. And the angel answering, said to the women: Fear not you; for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he is risen, as he said. Come, and see the place where the Lord was laid. And going quickly, tell ye his disciples that he is risen: and behold he will go before you into Galilee; there you shall see him. Lo, I have foretold it to you. And they went out quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy, running to tell his disciples. And behold Jesus met them, saying: All hail. But they came up and took hold of his feet, and adored him. Then Jesus said to them: Fear not. Go, tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, there they shall see me. --Matthew 28:1-10
It's Easter. This is the fulfillment of Our Lord's promise of eternal life. It is the ultimate triumph over evil. We are reminded that our struggles are not for nought, that our final reward is eternal. The evil one refuses to give up. He knows that if we give in to despair we won't experience the promise of the Resurrection. He fears that we might reject his tricks and lies. He hungers for us to join him in his eternal torment. With his continual attacks on our faith, attacks on our freedoms, attacks on the sanctity of life, he continues in a battle that he's already lost.
So on this most glorious of days, we are reminded that we must continue to face oppression and persecution head on. Satan is hard at work in this world. His minions do his bidding willingly, if naively, deceiving with false promises, twisting the truth until evil passes for good. We are led to believe that evil doesn't exist, and that material happiness outweighs the value of human life. Government fiat replaces personal responsibility. We are tempted to live like there's no tomorrow. But today, the empty tomb reminds us otherwise. The promise of Easter gives us the strength to persevere.
Here's wishing you a blessed and joy-filled Easter. May the joy of the Resurrection remain in your life all year long.
|Jesus' final resting place, in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem|
Photo by C. Turley, 2010