It is fascinating and wonderful to see the way the human mind responds to mystery. Mary Magdalene came to the tomb in the dark. Love had pushed her to risk any danger, in order to tend to the full burial rites of her beloved Teacher. Urgency and courage in the care of the beloved are attributes of a person open to mystery. What Mary could see was limited. One thing did come into focus, however, and that was that the enormous stone had been rolled away. In panic, Mary fixed her mind on one possibility: Enemies had stolen the body of Jesus.
Peter and John ran through the grey light in answer to Mary’s alarm. John, the faster runner and younger man, arrived first. He waited deferentially for the group’s recognized leader, Peter, to get there. Peter bent down and entered the tomb. He noticed the separated burial cloths. His mind attached itself to the concrete detail. His mind was stalled. Peter’s love had faltered during this terrible week. His capacity for love had weakened.
Then John, “the disciple whom Jesus loved,” and who returned that love in the most obvious loyalty, entered the tomb. He saw and believed. Mary is a supreme instance of someone who goes on loving and believing even when all seems lost. When all seemed lost, it was Mary and John who stayed with Jesus at the foot of the cross. They, alone of the disciples, loved Jesus to His death.
The Sacred Triduum of our Faith is one complete mystery. If we attempt to separate Good Friday from Easter Sunday, we will never be able to fully understand the glory of the Resurrection. If we have had our feet washed, if we have lingered in the shadow of the cross, if we have run in the half-light to the tomb, if we have understood that Jesus Christ loved us to His death, If we have reciprocated that love, we can see and believe. Alleluia! Alleluia!
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