As we listen to the words of Peter in today’s first reading, we can say to ourselves that we know the story of Jesus of Nazareth. We have heard it before. Yet, we have arrived at this Easter differently, through months of uncertainty and unrest.
I remember last year at this time, thinking that the question worthy of asking was how did we want to emerge when the crisis of the pandemic was behind us. How did we want to be when we emerged from the tomb of coronavirus? We find ourselves at Easter again, still facing disconcerting realities – the persistent pandemic, continued loss, deepening division, and greater ambiguity about future possibilities.
So, what is new this Easter?
I heard something new in today’s Gospel, or perhaps I recognized it for the first time:
“Then the other disciple also went in, the one who had arrived at the tomb first, and he saw and believed.” John 20:1-9
He saw and he believed ... This simple declaration prompts in me this question: What did the other disciple see that evoked his belief? Or even more to the point ... How did he see so that he believed?
What are we seeing this Easter?
Perhaps praying with “the other disciple” offers us insight. Yes, he saw the empty tomb, but he saw beyond the surface, to the reality that Christ had risen just as He had said He would.
How did the “other disciple” see this truth? He saw with the eyes of faith. But what does that mean? My sense is that the other disciple saw with his heart. His perspective was shaped by his relationship with Jesus, whom the disciple knew to be true to His word. Jesus had risen just as He said He would. The disciple recognized the truth of the Resurrection through the eyes of belief and of love.
The question for us in the face of these profoundly disconcerting times is: Can we see with the eyes of our hearts?
As Easter unfolds and we hear these words: Christ is risen, the light has dawned, and hope is born anew, can we allow ourselves to know this truth in a new way? How will we choose to emerge from Lent into the future?
Saint Madeleine Sophie often remarked that had she had her life to live again, she would live it more according to the Holy Spirit. For Sophie, being attuned to the Spirit dwelling deep within her very core was essential to living, to breathing, to being. Hers was a dual orientation – both inward and outward – towards both silence and action. This Easter, Sophie reminds us to be attentive to the Spirit dwelling deep within our very core. Her perspective was that of “the other disciple.” This dynamic dual orientation creates the energy that fuels our shared mission to reveal God’s love in the heart of reality. Sensitivity to the Spirit enables us to see our common humanity and our profound connection with all of Creation.
Let us pray that the Spirit inspires us. May our hearts help us know and proclaim the truth of Easter.
The Risen Christ is the all-embracing, loving incarnation of the Divine,
extended without limit, totally inclusive, unconditionally welcoming.
Christ is risen, the light has dawned, and hope is born anew.
This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad. Alleluia!
Reflection: Suzanne Cooke, RSCJ
Image: photo by Pisit Heng on unsplash