EARLY IN THE MORNING of the third day after the crucifixion, the soul of Jesus re-entered His body and He arose from the dead. His glorified body passed unimpeded through the sealed door of the tomb, but at the same instant, to reveal His rising to the world, there was a great earthquake and an angel from heaven appeared at the tomb. Dazzlingly radiant, the angel rolled back the stone before the door of the tomb and sat upon it, and Pilate’s guards, stunned and terrified, fell to the ground as if they were dead.
Toward daybreak Mary Magdalene and the other holy women had left Jerusalem for the sepulcher, bringing with them additional spices to anoint Christ’s body. As they approached the tomb they were discussing how they could gain entrance; but when they reached the door, they saw the great stone had already been rolled away.
Alarmed by the thought that someone had stolen Christ’s body, Mary Magdalene ran to inform the disciples. It happened, though, that on the way she encountered Peter and John, and having told them of her fears, she returned with them to the tomb.
In the meantime, the women had entered the tomb and discovered that the body was gone. As they stood wondering what to make of this, two angels appeared to them. The women fell to the ground in terror, but one of the angels said, “Do not be afraid. You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. Why do you seek the living one among the dead? He has risen, He is not here. Behold the place where they laid Him. Remember how He spoke to you while He was yet in Galilee, saying that the Son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and on the third day rise. Go quickly and tell His disciples and Peter that He has risen; and behold, He goes before you into Galilee; there you shall see Him, as He told you.”
Speechless and trembling with fear, the women went off to tell the disciples, as the angel had commanded them.
Meditation: After thirty years of obscurity, after three years of a public life of service, after eighteen hours of a bitter passion, after forty hours in the tomb, Christ rose to a glorious eternity. In heaven, for the endless ages of eternity, He will reign gloriously. Even the bitterness of His passion and death seem less significant when viewed in the light of His eternal glorification. Similarly, if we turn our attention to the reward of a glorious eternity awaiting us, do not the temporary afflictions suffered here seem shorter and less important than we have always considered them?
Information from The Life of Christ “Our Lord’s Life with Lesson in His Own Words for Our Life Today” The Catholic Press, Inc. 1959. 289-290. © 1954 edited by Reverend John P. O’Connell, MASTD and Jex Martin, following mainly A Chronological Harmony of the Gospels by Stephen J Hartdegen OFM NIHIL OBSTAT John A McMahon; IMPRIMATUR Samuel Cardinal Stritch, Archbishop of Chicago August 1, 1953. Print. Drawing by Albert H Winkler.