The first light of Easter dawn had begun to creep over the horizon. The steadfast women from Friday's gory events are returning again to the body of their Lord. "Who will roll back the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?" How quickly we return to mundane concerns and how thoroughly God wants to surprise us! Imagine the utter shock upon seeing the stone rolled away, the tomb empty, and a stranger clothed in light proclaiming the impossible. "You seek Jesus of Nazareth, the crucified. He has been raised; he is not here." He is risen indeed and the world will never be the same.
We know from other Gospel passages that Mary Magdalene made haste to the disciples to proclaim the Good News. We know that Peter and John rushed to the tomb to see for themselves. We know that the wonder and awe of the Resurrection permeated the lives of the apostles until their own dying day.
Can we comprehend the utterly world-changing nature of this surprise? The historical reanimation of a dead man is of no real value to us. But we know that Easter Sunday is so much more. By the Resurrection of Jesus, life has triumphed over death for us all. The gates of heaven are opened and the treasury of graces is poured out upon the here and now. This Resurrection Day, let us draw near, amazed yet unafraid, to the risen Christ. Let us recall the words of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, "Jesus is not a character from the past. He lives, and he walks before us as one who is alive, he calls us to follow him, the living one, and in this way to discover for ourselves the path of life" (Easter Vigil, April 15, 2006).