Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Stone Has Been Moved

They were saying to one another,
"Who will roll back the stone for us
from the entrance to the tomb?"
When they looked up,
they saw that the stone had been rolled back;
it was very large. (Mk 16: 3-4)

Talk about an answered prayer! Mary Magdalene, Mary, the mother of James, and Salome were worried about who would roll back the very large stone for them so they could anoint the body of Jesus very early on that morning of the first day of the week. To their amazement, not only had the stone been rolled back for them by someone, the tomb also turned out to be empty!

The first Easter must have been majestic, glorious, fantastic, amazing, and I could go on and on with my superlatives, but I believe that Easter for us at this time is equally special because we have the benefit of two thousand years of appreciation of what actually happened.

I would love to see the Risen Lord and to kneel before him and to kiss his hand, so joyful am I to see him! I attended the Easter Vigil with my parents. There was darkness at first, and then light. Then there were all the readings, the history of our salvation, sung by the priest, the choir, and the congregation. The repetitious motions of standing up, sitting down, listening, and singing, were getting to the people and some were starting to doze off, while some were restless.

When the bells started ringing, however, and the choir started singing Hallelujah, everything happened all at once. Altar ladies stood up to put the altar cloth on the table. The Knights of the Altar removed the purple cloths covering the crucifix and the images of Our Lady, St. Benedict, and the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The Risen Christ stood under an arch of beautiful white flowers. People brought in baskets of flowers, and my heart rejoiced. I could not explain why but I felt a whisper inside my heart that Easter had finally come again. Tears threatened to fall, but I stopped them. I failed to stop my eyes from glistening, though, and unfortunately, the kid in front of me noticed. (It's typical, every time I cry at church, a child sitting on the pew in front of me would stare at me.)

I was just so happy during that glorious moment. It was like a glimpse of heaven, a wonderful reminder that God has promised us salvation, and that Jesus will come again, and we will behold His face, and there will be angels singing, bells ringing, and souls rejoicing eternally.

The moment passed, I went home and carried with me that light from the Paschal candle, and the baptismal vows that I renewed tonight. Something has changed. Light has come back into the world.

The stone has been moved. The tomb is empty. Christ is risen! Hallelujah!

Happy Easter, everyone.

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