An Easter Message from the Principal, 2014

Dear Friends of St. Luke’s,

During my day-long Prinicpal's retreat at Villa Maria del Mar, I received a mild revelation about the meaning of Easter. It occurred to me that the angel did not roll the stone away so that Jesus could get out of the tomb. It was so that people like me could see in! Obvious! But I never thought of it that way before.

Easter is about the Resurrection of Jesus. But the Gospel story is told in terms of what happens to us. Our imagination tends to blur it all together and we lose the clear focus of the Gospel message. Go back and capture the moment in the Easter Proclamation when Mary Magdalene comes to the tomb and sees the stone already rolled away. Freeze that. The first recorded moment on Easter Sunday is simply that: where she expected to find death she did not find it. No body. No sign of death; just a kind of clean and still emptiness--a “Blessed Emptiness.”

There is a clearly different feel to this blessed emptiness of Easter morning after the heavy, fullness of Lent. We have spent forty days remembering our sins, reminding ourselves and each other of what is wrong and needs to be changed or forgiven. We walked through the valley of death where we came face to face with our losses, longings and limitations. It’s like looking at something for forty days—then you wake up one morning expecting to see it and it’s gone. Today the stone is rolled back so that we can see—it is not there anymore!


The “Blessed Emptiness” is just a moment—the first moment—of Easter. We have a whole day ahead of us-- a whole season. The rest of the season of Easter is the filling up of the emptiness with a new and glorious presence of the Risen Lord. The Gospel stories in these post-Easter chapters record the profound events that happened to all those who opened themselves to the Resurrected Jesus. This becomes then a season of life, growth and abundant blessing.

 

But for one moment on Easter morning may we experience ourselves as the empty tomb itself. Our new and blessed emptiness is framed by our faith. It represents our readiness to be filled with new life. All of that which cluttered our lives before—that which seemed like death--is gone. Now we are ready to be filled with life. And God, we know, is faithful to all promises.

 

May your hearts be filled with the new song of Easter: He is risen, Alleluia!

John Rieschick