By Father Eleazar Silva
With this reflection I want to begin a series in which I am going to talk about the different depictions of Christ resurrected during Easter. The Passion and Resurrection of Christ are the foundation of our Catholic faith. For us the death and resurrection of Jesus is reason to celebrate, to believe and to hope. I invite everyone to discover the different faces of the Easter Christ.
The sun was barely raising, the earth was still covered by shadows, when the holy women who accompanied Jesus arrived at the tomb to anoint his body. He had been buried in a rush. He had to be buried before 5 p.m. and he had died at 3 in the afternoon. That Friday was preparation for Passover and his body couldn’t stay on the cross. There was no time to prepare his body properly.
He had died in the middle of a major tragedy. After being received as a king, he was executed as a thief. He was believed a powerful prophet, but ended as a criminal, crucified. Forgotten, deceived, betrayed and humiliated. Behind were the days of the big crowds. The days of the Wedding of Cana, the miracle of the fish, the multiplication of the loaves – all vanished with the horror of the Cross. From the human point of view, that was a tragic death. Nothing was left.
But the first day of the week the sun came out, announcing to the world that the end of this story was not written by the tragedy, it was written by God. The holy women, who witnessed the suffering and death of Jesus, were still in the shadows. They were wondering how they were going to move the heavy stone that covered the tomb. That stone could easily symbolize the state of humanity, imprisoned in a world of death by the stone of evil, hate and division. These elements dominate the scene. The darkness of the night and a huge rock separated the world from Jesus.
The women were on their way. That is also an image of the state of the world. Through patriarchs, judges and prophets, God had walked with the people of Israel in a journey from the Garden of Eden, in which humans lost their friendship with God, to the garden of the Resurrection, where there is a new beginning. These women walked in darkness to find what they could not even imagine. Humanity, guided by God, also walks toward a destiny impossible to imagine. The women, shocked by Jesus’ death, showed their pain and their loss by arriving with the ointments to annoint his body. It is night, there is a tomb, he is dead and there is no hope.
But when they arrive at the tomb, like the angels at Christmas, a messenger wearing a white tunic interrupts their pain and announces the joy: "He is not here. He is resurrected." Seemingly destroyed by death, Christ has been resurrected. The last frontier has been crossed. Our worst enemy has been defeated. Death could not stand against Jesus, and now he is the Lord. His kingdom has arrived and has surpassed the limits of our defeats. There is no one or anything to fear anymore; he conquers everything, Jesus our Lord.
The messenger asked the women to go and tell the disciples that Jesus would go with them to Galilee. They need to believe. He is alive and walking among us. He is the Lord of life, there is nothing to fear. We now live with Christ. Our hope has a name and a destiny. The triumph of Jesus is our victory.