A Lesson from the Empty Tomb

As plants and flowers pierce the soil of yesteryear’s decay, as the bare arms of corpse-like trees burst forth with the green gaiety of life renewed, we are confronted with the gaping chill of the empty tomb.

Mary Magdalene has made the somber journey through the gray morning to anoint the body of Jesus. Her feet tread monotonously the well-worn path and her glistening eyes are unseeing. She is overwrought, burdened by the grief that only tragic death can bring. He is gone. Her Jesus is gone, nailed to the tree, swallowed up by the grave. Her only consolation on this, the most awful morning of her life, is to be near his body, to look into those dead eyes that once penetrated her with overwhelming mercy, to hold the cold, stiff hand that once lifted her lovingly from the darkness of sin to a light she had never dared imagine.

Then she beholds it, the empty tomb. The stone has been rolled away and she stands trembling before the awful emptiness of death’s embrace. They have stolen his body! That last consolation she had clung to so desperately has been taken away from her. Mary Magdalene falls to the ground, her hot tears wash the cold stones at the threshold of the tomb. All hopes leaves her as the shadows from this empty recess stretch out invisible arms to envelop her.

At that very moment, the sun breaks over the horizon, its rays illuminating the gray landscape with flaming color and throwing the the shadows to flight.

A voice breaks the awful silence, “Woman, why are you weeping?”Pierced by her grief, Mary seems not to hear or recognize the strange figure silhouetted against the dawn. She can only beg through tears to be returned to his stolen corpse. The tomb’s darkness has shrouded her heart and blinded her to the sanctity of light.

The voice calls out again, this time laden with nostalgia and a calming power: “Mary!” At the sound of her name, she leaps forward with overwhelming recognition, with desperate joy and flings herself into the arms of her Savior. He is alive! He is risen! The darkness was only a passing thing.

No matter what troubles or trials are upon you during the final days of winter, remember that the splendor of spring is sure to follow. Be certain that at this very moment, your Savior is crying into your darkness and calling you by name. This is the lesson of the empty tomb and the joy of the Resurrection!