The Gospel story that is read at the Easter Vigil is of exceptional importance. It doesn’t just announce the great news that the crucified one has been raised by God. It also shows us the path we need to take in order to see him and meet up with him.
Mark speaks of three remarkable women who can’t forget Jesus. They are Mary of Magdala, Mary the mother of James, and Salome. An absurd project has been awakened in their hearts, a project that could only be born of a passionate love: «buy spices in order to go to the tomb to anoint his body».
What’s surprising is that when they get to the tomb, they see that it’s already open. When they get closer, they see a «young man dressed in white» who calms them of their fear and announces something that they would never have suspected.
«You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, the one they crucified?» It’s wrong to look for him in the world of the dead. «He isn’t here». Jesus isn’t just one more dead person. This isn’t the time to mourn him and give him homage. «He is risen». He’s alive forever. He never again will be found in the world of the dead, the extinguished, the finished.
But if he’s not in the tomb, where can he be found? Where can we meet him? The young man reminds the women of something that Jesus had told them: «He goes ahead of you to Galilee. There you will see him». In order to «see» the resurrected one you need to return to Galilee. Why? What’s this about?
The resurrected one can’t be «seen» outside of the proper path. In order to experience him full of life in our midst, we need to return to the point of departure and experience what in his life had brought Jesus to crucifixion and resurrection. Otherwise the «Resurrection» will be a lofty doctrine for us, a sacred dogma, but we won’t experience Jesus alive in us.
Galilee had been Jesus’ main place of action. There his disciples have seen him heal, forgive, free, welcome, awaken a new hope in everyone. Now his followers need to do the same. We aren’t alone. The Resurrected One goes before us. We will go about seeing him if we walk in his footsteps. What’s most decisive in experiencing «the Resurrected One» isn’t the study of theology or the celebration of liturgy, but the faithful following of Jesus.
José Antonio Pagola
Translator: Fr. Jay VonHandorf