I was reflecting this week about a pilgrimage I made several years ago to Jerusalem and my experience of kneeling in prayer at the tomb of Jesus Christ.
I had this powerful sense that here is where everything begins.
History begins again at the site of that empty tomb. Your life and my life — and the life of every person — begins there, too.
What happened on that first Easter morning had only a few witnesses. But they all agree. On the third day, when they came back to the place where they had laid the broken body of Jesus, it was gone.
“They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we do not know where they have put him,” St. Mary Magdalene said.
The empty tomb of Easter opens our lives and our world to the promise of eternity. No longer are we bound by natural limitations of space and time.
The empty tomb testifies that we are made for transcendence — to move beyond this life into eternity. Eternity means not only a life without end. It means also a life that shares in the very life of the Blessed Trinity.
We will die. This we know. But we know now that if we die in him, we will rise again in him.
“We will be changed,” St. Paul tells us. “All of us, gazing with unveiled face on the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory.”
We live now with our eyes fixed on Jesus — who died once to live forever.
And by his life and teaching, we know that we are not just thrown into this world randomly to make our own way from our first beginning to our last end.
We are children of God and he is personally invested in our lives. He made each one of us for a beautiful purpose, and he is committed to helping us to become the people we are meant to be.
In the light of the empty tomb, we all need to rediscover that “reason” why we are here. In the light of Easter, we need to really understand — and believe — how much God loves us.
We see his love in the cross and we see it again in the Resurrection. He laid down his life for each one of us. For you. For me. He came to die so that we can rise to live.
In breaking the bonds of death, Jesus Christ sets us free to live. To be holy as he is holy; to love as he loves.
When we really understand this path that Jesus is calling us to walk — it gives our lives new meaning and a new direction.
Jesus calls us now to follow him from that empty tomb and to experience our lives as a gift of love that we receive from God. He calls us now to see our daily work as a sacrifice and a service of love that we offer to God and to our brothers and sisters.
Jesus tells us that what we have received freely, we must give freely. He gives us new life and he calls us to give new life to others.
He calls us to spend our lives in the service of others, bringing them life and hope and joy. Love is life-giving or it is not real love.
And we are called to keep giving until we can give no more.
Whether we are old or young, near the start of our life’s journey or nearing the end — God has a role for us to play.
We all know people in our communities, maybe in our own families, who are confined to their homes or suffering chronic pain, a disability or a terminal illness.
Their lives remain precious in the eyes of God, and even in their weakness they are called to play their part in God’s plan and to give life to others.
The Resurrection means we are never too old or too sick to love. We can pray even if we cannot do very much else.
And our human prayers have divine power when they are joined to the compassion of the Risen Jesus. We can offer up all our pain, all our difficulties and sufferings — for our children and our loved ones, for the mission of the Church, for all those who do not yet know the joy of Jesus.
In the light of the empty tomb, every act of love that we offer, no matter how small, increases the love that is in the world. Our work is simply to love and let Jesus do the rest. What Jesus does with our love — we will be told in eternity.
So pray for me in this blessed Easter season, and I will be praying for you and for your families and your loved ones.
And let us ask our Blessed Mother Mary to help us to live and love in the light of the empty tomb and in the hope of the Resurrection.