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A Resurrection Story

Some time ago, when I participated in a retreat, the Director asked us to situate ourselves in one of the Resurrection stories and let it speak. I was drawn to the scene where the women, in their anxiety, questioned, "Who will roll away the stone from the door of the tomb.” (Mk.16: 1 – 8) I saw myself as the stone harshly uprooted from my native soil.  Rebellious feelings surged in my heart until a moment of insight helped me accept my situation. After all, I was in touch with the Christ within, and, from my strategic position, I was able to observe what was happening around me. It wasn’t easy to listen to the guards make jokes and pass cynical remarks about Jesus and his faithful followers. An aching emptiness was beginning to become unbearable, until, at daybreak, I saw a group of women approach the sepulchre to perform the last rites on Jesus. I was moved by the greatness of these women, who, despite their powerlessness and hopelessness, their fears and misgivings, had the courage to continue their mission to serve. They were distraught over how they would enter the tomb, but, when they ‘looked again’ to their amazement, they saw that I, the stone, had been rolled away. They gasped for breath when they saw the empty tomb. But, then they heard the words of a young man.  "He is going ahead of you…”  Don’t look for a dead, crucified Christ in the tomb. From that moment, life for these women life was no longer the same. They ran back, bewildered but overjoyed, to tell the disciples. Each day we are bombarded by messages from the media causing us to live our lives from a place of fear.  Often we focus our attention on the empty tomb instead of the Resurrection. But, "He is going ahead of you …” reverberates to this day. We will ‘see Him’ in our communities, our hospitals, our parishes, where ever we find ourselves.  We will ‘see Him’ in the people forcefully uprooted from their native soil and in vulnerable groups who are forced into a position of dehumanization. We will ‘see Him’ when we believe that everyone’s journey, no matter how distorted, can be redeemed by prayer and new beginnings. This is the Easter message – a message of hope – an invitation to see the Risen Lord in the most ordinary of human situations - an invitation to re-vision.

"Though we live in a world

That thinks of ending

That always seems about to give in

Something that will not acknowledge conclusion

Insists that we forever begin.”  Brendan Kennelly

Catherine O’ Sullivan IJS Coolea



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