Why Do You Seek the Living One Among the Dead? An Easter Reflection by Deacon Alan Doty

Photo by Rey Spadoni

Happy Easter! He is Risen! 

Our Easter season begins in the same fashion that our Lenten season did – with a journey. On Ash Wednesday Lent began with a journey into the desert, a place of dryness and doubt. Easter begins with a journey to the tomb, a place seemingly not of questions but of answers. The faithful women start their trip to the tomb of Jesus in mourning. They had no doubts about what had happened, had no question about how Jesus’ story ended. 

Instead, they entered the tomb in mystery and fear, their answers turned not just to questions but to wonder. Jesus, in his resurrection, has gone before them, in death as in life. What they thought was the end of a journey was instead the beginning of a more glorious pilgrimage, a new and magnificent journey leading to ever more surprises.

In the short journey of the women from their homes to the tomb, and from the tomb to beyond, we see the story of our own faith life. We too begin filled with certainty. We, no matter what stage of our life, think that we have our beliefs and our faith figured out. It’s an echo of the serpent’s promise in the garden, the promise that we can seize control, control of not only ourselves but of God, and still live.And so we, secure in our knowledge, gather what we think we need and set on our own path.

Then, with luck, or I should say by grace, we encounter question. There may be some among us even today who have the impression that our faith gives us the answers. It was faith that drew the women to the tomb, to enter the tomb. But did their faith give them answers? NO! They had faith and they had answers before they reached the tomb. They left it still filled with faith but full now as well with questions. Where can we find Jesus? What happened? What do we do now? Why did the angels scold them saying: “Why do you seek the living one among the dead”? 

If you are fortunate, your faith life will over and over be that the women carrying oil and spices to worship the Lord in the way you have learned works for you. Rejoice then when you find that the things you are carrying have no importance or meaning. Why do you seek the living one among the dead? If you are blessed, truly blessed, you will have many cycles of knowing the answers, many times when you set out on to a destination you know, only to have the Lord upset your faith and your confidence again and again. Many episodes of discovering that what you saw as a destination is instead a turning point. 

Happy Easter! He is risen! Ask God to give you the grace that turns everything you know, or thought you knew, on its head. Ask to be filled with questions as were the women that first Easter day. It can be frightening to have your whole world view overturned. With grace, it will happen often. That is what Easter is.  The Resurrection is not just another data point in your life to be analyzed and filed away. This Easter and every day of your life enter the tomb. See there the death of your old way of life and stop looking for the living among the dead. Seek instead the risen Lord. Return again and again from your journey to the tomb amazed and tell others what you have seen. 

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