The Empty Tomb?
Resurrexit sicut Dixit, Alleluia! At the risk of stating the obvious, the lenten weeks have not been a source of sustaining news: rumours around the selective portrayal of Pope Benedict's letter; a Bishop convicted of reserved delicts; and demands from secular politicians that the papal visit to Ireland by "fully inclusive" to all relationships. The ignorance of man, and the elevation of vanity as distinct from the wisdom of God, appeared to transport us to the celebration of the passion, death and resurrection of the Saviour. Within each of the gospel narratives we find similar themes writ large. Who can fail to witness the actions of Judas Iscariot as anything other than betrayal? And what of the triple denial expressed by Peter?
We may share in the Peter's anguish. The instant when, having come to his senses, he calls to mind Jesus' words and comes to the moment of awakening: he has done the very thing he declared he would not do.
Within the traditions of the East - like our own western legal tradition- the provision of a promise was a solemn occasion. One which generated responsibility and accountability. The promise represents the outward declaration of not only a state of mind but a way of acting; a commitment to deliver on the promise itself. The currency of the promise is not expediency but duty. The delivery of that which is due; that which is just. In our present time, the empty tomb stands not only as evidence of the promises of Jesus, but also of the isolation he was prepared to endure for our sake. In isolation he prayed in Gethsemane. Alone he stood before Pilate. Abandoned he bore the indignity of the cross. The empty tomb cries out against the vanity and follies of this world and all of its supposed wisdom. It is not merely a symbol of hope but a necessary focus for the whole of humanity. It is a call to wisdom.
The promise of resurrection is a gift; not an entitlement. Within the liturgies we have been called to renew our baptismal promises. Let us not lose sight of the duties which we have assumed. May the empty tomb serve as a reminder that we too must lay aside the wisdom of the world to participate in a life of service in order that we may share with Him the promise of new life.