On the first day of the week, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning, while it was still dark, and saw the stone removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them, “They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they put him.”
So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb. They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter and arrived at the tomb first. He bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in.
When Simon Peter arrived after him, he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there, and the cloth that had covered his head, not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place. Then the other disciple, who had arrived at the tomb first, also went in. He saw and believed. For they did not yet understand the Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.
The Resurrection is, first of all, an event that concerns Jesus Christ. It is his personal triumph over death, and the vindication of the truth of his teaching. He had spoken about it before it happened. The fulfillment of that prophecy underscores the power of Christ and the truthfulness of his message. He experienced His physical resurrection in all its transforming vitality, just as he had experienced the destructive power of sin in his agony and death. This is what the “Paschal Mystery” is all about. The Resurrection reveals this with a glorious clarity perceived through the eyes of faith.
But whatever happened to Christ has also a cosmic resonance. It influences and affects positively the whole universe, but especially mankind. At the Incarnation, the Son of God united himself in a permanent way to every human being with a solidarity that makes him share in all the miseries of every individual (including the deadly consequences of sin), and makes every human being a sharer in Christ’s dignity, holiness, and glory.
This is why Jesus’ coming out of the tomb alive, transformed, immortal . . . concerns us, too. It concerns all human beings. His Resurrection is also mankind’s resurrection because it marks mankind’s liberation from the oppression of sin.
Christ’s shattering the shackles of death (manifested through the breaking of the seals of his grave) is like the cracking of the shell of a seed which allows the sprout to burst forth with all the freshness of the new life it carries. That sprout is Christ, but is also all mankind. It is also each one of us. On Easter morning a new world dawned, a new humanity rose from the slavery of sin and death, in Jesus, through him and with him. (See Col 2:12-13.)
No human expression can exhaust the transforming greatness of this mystery. The Church has been proclaiming it during her 20 centuries of existence through her liturgy, her creeds, and her life. She will continue to do so until the liberating power of the Resurrection will have reached its full manifestation in the Kingdom of heaven.
There are a billion and one reasons for celebrating, then, as we commemorate, re-live and rejoice in the Resurrection of Jesus. It is our resurrection, too. But we are challenged to prove it by living a new life. We have to get rid of the “old yeast” of corruption and wickedness, and live a life characterized by sincerity and truth. (See 1 Cor 5:7-8.) We have to set our hearts “on what pertains to higher realms” (Col 3:1). Then will our actions ring the joyous notes of the Easter alleluia, and we shall become a living “proof” of Christ’s Resurrection.