Who will roll back the stone for us? They said to one another.
It was a big surprise when they arrived at the place and found that the stone, as big as it was, had already been removed.
Had the stone not be removed, it would be preventing them to learn the greatest news. Had the stone not be removed, they would not have seen the young man clothed in white. Had the stone not be removed, they would not have been able to witness that Jesus was not there. They wouldn’t have heard the words: Jesus has risen.
Someone had moved the stone for them. Mary Magdalene, Mary, the mother of James, and Salome went to the tomb early in the morning. The tomb signifies death. They were looking for a body to anoint. They didn’t find it. In that same place where they were going to meet death, they found the greatest news for those who have believed. “He has risen,” he is alive! He lives forever and this has implications for us as believers.
The news from God, as they usually do, come with a mandate. Go to Galilee, go where everything began, go and look for the community. Then, as a community, rejoice for Jesus is alive and is waiting for you.
It is Easter, it is the feast of Life! This is why tonight, with all the symbols, we exclaim with certainty and deep joy: Alleluia, alleluia.
We come to the end of this Holy Week where we have experienced a lot of things, a lot of contradiction. From the joy of Jesus as he came into Jerusalem to his anguish and fear. We’ve seen Jesus washing his feet to the disciples and we have seen him die on the cross. Love and hate, trust and fear, freedom and oppression, exclamations of joy and exclamations of pain. Tonight, in our readings for the Vigil we’ve gone through the history of salvation in which we find contradiction and humanity
This is our life, full of contradiction. Death and life are always present. However, sometimes when we look around, death and despair seem to be more powerful and relevant. This is our challenge for today as Christians who believe that Jesus has risen! We believe he lives forever! How do we rejoice in this life? How do we proclaim that Jesus is alive and he shares his life with us? Sometimes its very hard because there are a lot of stones separating us from life. There are stones that are very big, just as the one in the tomb and they prevent us from looking what’s on the other side. They prevent us from touching life. Life is everywhere.
Every reality, as painful as it might be, can be filled with life. We need to remove the stones. Sometimes the pain is so deep that we can’t remove them by ourselves and we need others to do that for us. Other times it is us who need to remove the stones to help others see life. Life is present even where it is very hard to see it. Life defeats death in Jesus. The same trust we have put in Jesus’ cross has to be put, today, in Jesus life. He who lives among us.
Jesus resurrected once and forever but he has left us with work to do. Today I think that we can interpret this task as removing the stones that prevent us from seeing life. We also need to remove the stones who prevent life from being possible. There are a lot of structures of death.
The certainty of Jesus’ resurrection must lead us to action. Hope is for eternal life but the hope is also for today, wherever we live. Here it is where we have to be witnesses of life. This week we saw a wonderful example of action in favor of life. After the last shooting in a school in the U.S., the students came together to be heard. Youth moved to action to demand a change in the arm control policies. They did not do it alone, they called the community. The community, also tired of this situation and acknowledging that life needs to be brought into this structure, supported them. They went out, they used the media, the moved. And this, as they affirm, is only the beginning. They are starting to move the stones that prevent life from being.
Let us celebrate the risen Christ. Let us celebrate that we are called to see life everywhere. Let us celebrate the community and in community.
Let us celebrate that the tomb is empty. Let us celebrate that the stone has been removed.