An offering with Peter. Lord, that Saturday is etched on my heart for ever. I would have been in total despair had not your Mother come and laid her hand on mine. Strengthen me to help others to rise from what seems like total failure and utter disgrace. Amen. Tom Shufflebotham SJ
Entering into prayer
Choose a way to enter into prayer from earlier in Lent or any method that you prefer.
Today's Scripture (Luke 24:1-12)
On the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in, they did not find the body. While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them. The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, ‘Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.’ Then they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb, they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest. Now it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told this to the apostles. But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; then he went home, amazed at what had happened.
Food for thought
Tonight’s gospel reading is Luke’s account of that first Easter Sunday. One of the striking things about all the Resurrection stories is the question-marks that hang over them: can it really be true?
Suggestions for prayer
We start our prayer by noticing the bravery of these women, who dare to come to the tomb “in the deep dawn”; but we also observe that they do not believe in the resurrection as yet, since they are intending to anoint a corpse.
But God is there, and someone has “rolled the stone from the tomb”. Then we see that there are divine messengers, who address the women as they scratch their heads in puzzlement, and gently rebuke them: “Why are you looking for the Living One among the corpses? He’s not here – no, he’s risen”; and they have to be reminded that Jesus had predicted this turn of events.
But faith in the Resurrection does not stop there; it has to be shared: and the women, who are named (“Mary the Magdalene, and Johanna and Mary of Jacob, and the rest…”) have to return
“to the Eleven”. That number, which should of course be Twelve, serves as a reminder that from
its very beginning the Church has been deficient; Judas has gone his own way. (Have you gone your own way recently?)
And not only that: these Resurrection witnesses are not believed; for the male apostles thought that “these words were babbling, and they would not believe them”. You might reflect that this has been the fate of women in the Church ever since.
But there is more; for Peter, always one to take us by surprise, “rose up and ran to the tomb”. Now the urgency of his going tells us something: does he after all believe that the one whom he had denied only a few hours before might have survived death? It does not sound very promising, though, for all he found was an empty tomb, and some “grave-cloths on their own” (which means that it was not grave-robbers); but he has not quite got there yet, for, “he went off home, wondering what had happened”
How are you going to respond today?
And what has happened, in your view? The Resurrection is the central doctrine of Christianity, according to Paul. What is the Lord telling you about it in your prayer today?
Image for the day
What do you see in the picture?
Can you imagine what it was like for the disciples, for the women?
Imagine the scene. Perhaps you can share that joy too.
Examen (review of prayer)
As you pray your examen today you might wish to reflect on the meaning of the resurrection to you in your life of prayer and your deeds.