By Sister Joy Clough

“On the first day of the week, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning, while it was still dark, and saw the stone removed from the tomb.”

—John 20:1

Art by Sister Renee Yann

It started as if he were waking from a nap—a long slow climb toward consciousness, a delicious sense of rising through waves of sleep. And then, like a flash of lightning: He was alive! Alive and not in pain. Alive and peaceful, filled with wonder. He was himself—Jesus, gloriously alive. He was the Word…with the Father…in the Spirit!

Even as he savored and rejoiced in this awareness, he was no longer alone. Simultaneously, it seemed, he was with his mother Mary…he was in the company of Moses and Elijah…he was singing with David and laughing with his cousin John and hugging Joseph. Yet, he was in a garden and it was Mary of Magdala who was speaking to him and to whom he spoke with yearning and gratitude, with aching joy at the miracle of life and of loving relationships.

And then it was Peter—the Rock, but not always. And Thomas—the skeptic become believer. And Andrew and John and James all his friends. The women who’d supported him and stood by his cross and came to the tomb. Some disheartened disciples on a road. A few dazed fishermen back in their boats.

Beyond these stretched streams of folks being called Christ-ians. He saw peaks of holiness and shining souls, valleys of evil and shriveled spirits. Love and hate, kindness and cruelty, faith and betrayal, hope and despair. The alternating rhythms of the awesome, awful human condition—as he himself had experienced it—winding through centuries and millennia toward eternity.

Eternity, where he was now poised and where there throbbed a chant, a drumbeat proclamation, a pulsing truth that would not be denied. As the words reached him, Jesus flung wide his arms, embracing earth and eternity, praising Abba, delighting in the Spirit and listening with profound gratitude and joy:

“Christ Jesus, yesterday and today,
the beginning and the end,
the Alpha and the Omega.
All time belongs to him,
and all the ages.
To him be the glory and power
through every age and forever.

Sister Joy’s reflection is based on the scripture readings for Easter Sunday and was adapted with permission from the Sisters of Mercy West Midwest Community’s Lenten 2019 Reflection Booklet.

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