Easter Sunday Gospel Reflection
Sunday, April 4, 2021
by Sister Theresa Rynn, SNDdeN
I have often thought how lucky I am to have been born in a country where Easter coincides with Spring. The winter waiting is over and all the signs in nature speak of new awakenings, new life, and new hope. This has never been more poignant than at this present time, as we cautiously take our first steps out of our ‘Covid world.’
Hope was not very evident as the events of that first Good Friday came to a close. Mary Magdalen and the other women moved into the darkness of grief, exhaustion and emptiness. Through this void of total devastation in a restless night of turmoil and aching pain, they waited in that Great Silence, for what? – some longing and yearning perhaps, for what had been and had passed, some vague sense of mystery beyond the borders of the known and familiar. As the hours passed by, a sense of urgency drove them into the darkness and the pathway towards the tomb. The ‘dark before dawn’ when the world holds its breath before the birth of a new day. Approaching the tomb the darkness gives way to a growing light — two worlds touch in the wonder of a new dawn.
Then the expected becomes confusion and disbelief. The stone has been rolled away, the tomb is empty, and Jesus is gone! Their shattered world becomes even more shattered and fragmented – thought and speech collide and break into a thousand pieces.
As the women enter into that new darkness, their dawn breaks,
“Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here.”
Mary Magdalen’s love was so great, that in that moment, I suspect she knew, without fully realizing, or understanding, the reality of the resurrection. In some mysterious way she realized that her Lord would be with her always and would never leave her.
“He must be handed over, be crucified and rise on the third day.” They remembered, they believed.”
With a spring in their steps the women, the first disciples of the Resurrection went to proclaim the good news to a waiting world.
Darkness, dawn, resurrection – from death to life — beautiful symbols for all of us. Symbols for me which often bring to mind those night vigils with the dying. Watching a life ebb away, I am in that place, that ‘no place’ where the veil between this life and what is beyond is almost transparent. After the long dark night, with the breaking dawn the spirit is freed and death becomes life. I am caught up in mystery and like Mary Magdalen, know the reality and power of Resurrection. For many though this past year has created an unexpected and traumatic relationship with death. As Covid spread across the world, numbers have become a daily litany. Without the possibility of visits from family and friends many faced death lonely and alone. For those of us who experienced the death of a loved one over recent months, the pain is raw and enduring – empty spaces and unlived memories. Our personal Resurrection is yet to come!
The ‘death, life cycle’ will be mine one day, but I am invited even now as I move towards the end of these Lenten days to reflect on my own darkness and know the joy of resurrection. My darkness may be a darkness of grief, of rejection, of pain and illness, of lack of hope or joy. Maybe I can see the Covid darkness as a nurturing darkness, a darkness of hope and growth – a darkness of discovery, of self-understanding, a darkness of prayer of being drawn more fully into the gifts of the Lord. Whatever my darkness I go into that stillness of the ‘dark before dawn’ and I wait.
“The meaning is in the waiting.”
It is then in an Easter dawning that I know my darkness to be resurrection. I know beyond words or thought that He is alive, He is risen in me!
An Easter Thought
“We are an Easter people and ‘Alleluia’ is our song”
Do I have the courage to explore my ‘Covid darkness?’
Do I have the courage to accept Resurrection?
Mark 16: 1-8
When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary, the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go and anoint him. Very early when the sun had risen, on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb. They were saying to one another, “Who will roll back the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” When they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back; it was very large.
On entering the tomb they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a white robe, and they were utterly amazed. He said to them, “Do not be amazed! You seek Jesus of Nazareth, the crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Behold the place where they laid him. But go and tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him, as he told you.'” And the women came out and ran away from the tomb because they were frightened out of their wits; and they said nothing to a soul, for they were afraid.
The Gospel of the Lord.
Meet Sister Theresa Rynn, SNDdeN
Sister Theresa (Tess) Rynn was born in Lancashire, England, the fifth of six children. She entered the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur in Ashdown in 1956. She was a Primary School Head Teacher for some years and then moved into local leadership in the British Province, with particular care for the sick and elderly. Alongside this she was involved for many years on the Formation Team in the Province, working with the newer members of the Congregation. A time as Moderator in the Generalate in Rome, was followed by some years as Novice Director, after which she returned to local leadership for a time. She worked in School and Hospital Chaplaincy, and Child and Adult Hospices. In recent years she has served as Moderator of the Parbold Community and presently continues to be involved in Spiritual Direction and Retreat work.