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Easter Sunday, March 31, 2013 (Acts 10: 34a, 37-43; Colossians 3:1-4; or 1 Corinthians 5:6b-8; John 20:

1-9; or Luke 24:1-12) As we can see, the choices for readings at Easter are many and varied. To begin let us compare the Gospel readings from Luke and John. Striking at the outset in John is that only Mary Magdalene sets out for the tomb, early on that first day of the week while it was still dark. Luke says there were a number of women from Galilee, who came on the first day of the week at daybreak. Luke suggests that the sun was up. John is still going from darkness to light. The women carry spices with them to anoint the body of Jesus which they could not do on the day he died because of the nearness of the Sabbath. John does not say why Mary was going to the tomb. All the women discover the stone rolled away, but in John, Mary Magdalene runs off to tell Simon Peter and the beloved disciple. In Luke the women move right on in to the tomb. In Luke the women find no body and then see two men in dazzling garments, as they puzzle over where the body went. In John, Peter and the other disciple run to the tomb and although the beloved disciple gets there first he waits for Peter to go in first, but all they find are burial cloths and a head cloth rolled up in a separate place. It was enough for the beloved disciple to see and believe but John does not tell us what he believed. In Luke the women hear the men say to them that the living one will not be found among the dead. He has been raised. They are reminded of what he had said (i.e. the risen one) when he was in Galilee. They recall Jesus prediction that the Son of Man would rise on the third day. The women announced all this to the eleven (Judas was no longer in the group). The women are then identified as Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James and some other unnamed women. The apostles thought their story was nonsense and

refused to believe them. But Peter (in order to be sure??) got up and ran to the tomb and saw the burial cloths and went (home) amazed. These are only comparisons between Luke and John. Had we added Mark and Matthew we would have found how really varied the accounts after the death of Jesus were. We would also discover than none of the Gospels includes a description of the resurrection itself. It remains steeped in mystery. The closest we come would be in various encounters by women (usually) with the Risen One, who is rarely recognized by those who see him. This variety of accounts of the resurrection narratives shows that the Church was content to live with the variations. No one testimony can do justice to the one account that all Gospels agree on; namely, that Jesus is risen from the dead. The how is not important in these New Testament accounts. The what is essential. All of the Gospels speak of the empty tomb, which becomes the symbol the disciples' faith in his victory over death. Critics of the womens testimony, beginning with the apostles that their story seemed like nonsense and they did not believe them, were not limited to the New Testament period. That theme echoes through time as authorities continue to reject the testimony of the people of God as nonsense and they do not believe them. But this year we cry out once again with renewed confidence: He is not here, but he has been raised! That may be nonsense to some; to us it is the cry of salvation itself.

Fr. Lawrence Hummer