Father Cormac Rigby “After the Sabbath, and towards dawn on the first day of the week...” (Mt 28:1) Or, as St John puts it: “It was very early on the first day of the week, and still dark, when Mary of Magdala came to the tomb.” Although I have come to accept the impressiveness of the Easter Vigil – and particularly the spread of light – I have to confess that Easter for me is not bonfires in the church car park or dunking candles in water. Rather, it is awakening in the last moments of darkness, and knowing that something tremendous has happened overnight and is about to be revealed.
Easter is the dawn of a new day, a new era. Something’s coming, something good.
There is, objectively speaking, a gloom over the last minutes of the night, the deepest chill, the silence of an exhausted world, the clammy feeling of death.
And then a single bird breaks the silence, a faint glimmer appears in the eastern sky. But this is no ordinary dawn: this is the day that the Lord has made.
While we slept, while the defeated apostles slept, while the heartbroken Mary slept, while Pilate and Caiaphas slept satisfactorily, an event took place, an event hidden and silent, but charged with cosmic power.
A human life that had been cruelly terminated rekindled itself. It’s an event as explosive as the Big Bang, as earth-shattering as creation itself.
This is the Re-creation. The Day of Resurrection.
The man who was dead yesterday is alive today, alive and well.
Mary Magdalen comes sorrowfully through the darkness and gets the shock of her life. Let’s join her as she stares uncomprehend ingly at the empty tomb and runs to find someone to confirm the evidence of her own eyes.
Peter comes running, terrified probably of graverobbers. And John. And in the pale light of dawn John enters and sees and understands.
Resurrexit sicut dixit. He has risen as he said he would. This world will never be the same again.
The dawn of Easter Sunday is the great turningpoint in human history, the revelation that it is not death that has the last word but Jesus. And me. I shall not die; I shall live.