The Resurrection of our Lord, Vigil of Easter, Year B

Inspired by Mark 16:1-8

“As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. But he said to them, ‘Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him.’” Mark 16:5-6 (NRSV)

When we have lost something, it makes sense to look for it in the last place we remember seeing it. The women had lost Jesus; after the Sabbath, they went to look for him in the last place they’d seen him: in the tomb where he’d been buried.

Except they weren’t looking for the Jesus they knew. They were looking for what was left of Jesus—for his dead body. They had seen him die, they were certain he was gone forever, and they wanted to properly anoint the body in order to give it a proper burial. They were looking for what was left of the teacher they’d loved and followed in order to say goodbye.

But Jesus wasn’t there. The empty shell of his body had risen, full again of his life, and he’d left the place of eternal rest in order to continue his mission of offering eternal life. The women would have the opportunity to say many things to Jesus, but ‘goodbye’ would not be one of them.

Jesus lives even today. If we put him aside, out of sight and out of mind, he doesn’t stay there. He doesn’t hide out in churches and chapels, avoiding people’s workplaces, homes, and recreational spots. He is wherever people may need him, always willing to say ‘hello’ to those who seek him, but never ‘goodbye.’

Let us pray. Living Lord, you conquered death and offer eternal life. Help us to seek you in the ordinary places of our lives, that we may experience your extraordinary grace in all that we do. Through Christ our Lord, Amen.