April 16 2022 Gospel Reading and Reflection: Luke 24:1-12

A reading from the gospel according to Luke 24:1-12:

1 At daybreak on the first day of the week the women who had come from Galilee with Jesus took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb.
2 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb;
3 but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.
4 While they were puzzling over this, behold, two men in dazzling garments appeared to them.
5 They were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground. They said to them, “Why do you seek the living one among the dead?
6 He is not here, but he has been raised. Remember what he said to you while he was still in Galilee,
7 that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners and be crucified, and rise on the third day.”
8 And they remembered his words.
9 Then they returned from the tomb and announced all these things to the eleven and to all the others.
10 The women were Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary the mother of James; the others who accompanied them also told this to the apostles,
11 but their story seemed like nonsense and they did not believe them.
12 But Peter got up and ran to the tomb, bent down, and saw the burial cloths alone; then he went home amazed at what had happened.

Reflection: Empty tomb, Empty hearts

When Jesus was arrested, His disciples were in fear for their lives and families. For three long years, they followed Jesus, placing their hopes on Him as the promised Messiah but they were totally disappointed. Even Peter who thought He will never leave Jesus denied Him three times as foretold by the Lord. He has died in shame and buried. Maybe their dreams of a better future and freedom from Roman oppression were also buried with Him. Their hearts were not empty, they were filled with anxiety and perhaps anger.

Just as the men were hiding for fear of the Jewish authorities, the women from Galilee were armed with courage and went to the tomb with spices on hand to finish the anointing of Jesus’ body as was customary during that time. They did not find the body of Jesus because the tomb was empty.

Is it a surprise that women were the first witnesses of the empty tomb? The answer is no because the privilege was given to them for their courage and faithfulness. In fact, they were with Jesus on His way to Calvary. That is not all. They were also given the privilege to proclaim the good news of the resurrection to the Apostles who were unbelieving. Only Peter had the enthusiasm to go and verify the truth of the empty tomb and the resurrection story. (In the Gospel of John, Peter was accompanied by John the beloved Apostle.)

As we reflect on the empty tomb, we remember the time we lost a loved one. It is not easy to be separated from them. Yet the empty tomb shows us that there is no reason to have an empty heart. We ask the risen Lord to fill us with love and hope that death is just a way to meet Him in His glory.

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