The Easter Gospel reports, “Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning, while it was still dark, and saw the stone removed from the tomb.” Quickly, she ran to find Peter and the other disciples to report that “the stone had been removed from the tomb.” This is how the Good News of Salvation began to spread.
As we celebrate this Easter, we are looking forward to removing the stones in our own communities and in our own lives.
The stone of the pandemic has weighed heavily on us all, claiming the lives of more than half a million of our fellow citizens in less than one year. It has disrupted our activities, our work, our schools and our places of worship. But as the vaccines reach more and more people, there is light breaking through that this stone of the pandemic will be removed.
Because of the pandemic, we have been deprived of opportunities to worship together in prayer and song. Soon this heavy stone will be rolled back and we will once again come together in faith to celebrate the sacraments and to serve one another.
In our communities this year, the heavy stone of racism has been lifted, and while not removed, that lifting has shed light on the pervasive ugly sin of racism. For centuries, the African American community has been an object of racist laws, practices and behaviors. We are now learning more about how Asian Americans are also suffering by a systemic racism that is a heavy stone weighing down on our society.
The stone of racism must be lifted and rolled back. We are hopeful that during this year as that stone has been moved – ever so slightly – that the light of the truth that we are all made in the image and likeness of God will prevail.
When Mary Magdala went looking for Jesus, the Gospel says, “it was still dark.” This Easter, as we make our own journey, it may still be dark in our communities, too. But we know with confidence that the path to Salvation has been opened to everyone and the light that poured out of the empty tomb long ago in Jerusalem is a light that beckons to us today.
The Resurrection shows us that God is up to something greater. That there is more to come than the fear, drudgery and pain of our present days. Know it, believe it and share it. Jesus Christ is risen, Alleluia.
On behalf of myself and all of the Josephites, I wish you a joyous Easter and a Blessed Easter Season.
Bishop John H. Ricard, SSJ