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We can live in hope

“They found the stone rolled away from the tomb.” (Lk 24:2) 

Father Lam T. Le, Pastor |St. John Paul II Parish |3110 17 Mile Rd, Cedar Springs

“What you are now, we once were. What we are now, you will become.” Those are the chilling words  inscribed on a plaque inside Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini in Rome, Italy. It is an ancient church that displays the bones of over four thousand Capuchin friars who passed away. The sole purpose of this grisly display is to remind visitors of the inevitability of death and to invite them to visually reflect on the eventual human condition. 

This thought-provoking display not only reminds us of our death; but it also inspires us to live faithfully to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. When our earthly pilgrimage is over, we will be united with the Lord for all of eternity. 

This is what the women, the first witnesses to the resurrection of the Lord in the Gospel of Luke, show us. After a full day had passed since the burial of Jesus, “at daybreak on the first day of the week the women who had come from Galilee with Jesus took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb.” (Lk 24:1). Two things are significant in this passage—the spices they prepared and that they arrived at sunrise on the first day of the week. 

The spices that these women brought to the tomb indicate their devotion to the Lord. These women had watched the crucifixion from a distance (Mk 15:40-41). They witnessed the humiliating death that Jesus had endured and then, like a criminal, he had been buried hastily before sundown. Out of love for Jesus, they came to the tomb with spices, to perform an important ritual that had not been properly completed. This last act of kindness and compassion leads them to encounter the Almighty Act of God, namely, to witness the resurrection. 

“At daybreak on the first day of the week” they went to the tomb. The fact that the evangelist mentioned at dawn is the first hint that the darkness of the death of Jesus had been overcome. Malachi alluded to the prophecy at the very end of the Old Testament: “for you who fear my name, there will arise the sun of justice with its healing rays” (Mal 3:20). At the empty tomb, the pious women are witnesses to the beginning of the new creation: Christ resurrected from the dead renews all things. 

It was love that led these women to the tomb. Their grief was quickly transformed into joy by the risen Lord, who transformed the darkness of death into new life! The fear of being persecuted was transformed into boldly proclaiming the joy of a new creation. It is all because of the friendship/relationship that they had with Jesus. 

So, for those who cling to the Lord Jesus, we do not need to fear the meaning of the words: “What you are now, we once were. What we are now, you will become.” Christians live in hope because of this assurance: “Are you unaware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were indeed buried into his death through the waters of baptism and just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life” (Rm 6:3-4). 

We cling to Jesus so we might be delivered from the darkness of the night to the tomb at sunrise! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Christ the Lord is risen! 

In addition to being the priest at St. John Paul II Parish, Cedar Springs, Father Lam also proudly serves as pastor of Mary Queen of Apostles Parish, 1 W Maple Street, Sand Lake, MI.49343. Phone 616 -636-5671. 

 


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