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NWICatholic The Pastoral Center in Merrillville (where the NWI Catholic office is located) will be closed tomorrow Jan. 30 because of extreme cold.
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The empty tomb bring great light out of the darkness of Good Friday

       "Do not be afraid! I know that you are seeking Jesus the crucified. He is not here, for he has been raised just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay,” said the angel to the women at the empty tomb of Christ. (Mt 28:5-6)

       Put yourself in the shoes of those women who came to the tomb in the breaking light of that first Easter morning. In Mark’s Gospel we’re told it was Mary Magdalene, Mary, the mother of James, and Salome. Three brave souls bringing spices to anoint the battered and broken body of our Lord Jesus.

       Imagine their surprise; the stone has been rolled back. And there sitting on that very rock that sealed in death is an angel. Were their minds racing, trying to comprehend what they were seeing? We’ve all experienced those situations. While our eyes see, our minds scramble to make sense of that which we are seeing.

       See what miracle God has brought about! Out of the darkness of Good Friday, we have now entered the sunrise of a new day. The son has, indeed, risen! What was despairingly considered the final act, the end, now proves to be only the beginning. God has done the impossible; Jesus has turned death into new life. Death’s grip has loosened, has lost its power. In one unimaginable and utterly impossible moment, death becomes something no longer to be feared.

       The three women are struck speechless. In Scripture, momentary silence often comes following an encounter with the divine. Can you imagine the angel smiling gently as she understood the women’s confusion. “Come and see the place where he lay!” she says, with instructions to go quickly and tell the disciples, “He has been raised from the dead.” (Mt. 28:6-7)

       Talk about a paradigm shift! In literally a blink of the eye, what was dire, without hope, has changed. Where once there were only fear and darkness, now becomes a time filled with hope and great light, because through the emptiness of that tomb comes the fullness of eternal life. This truly is a new beginning!

       I dare say that there is an emptiness – a lifeless tomb – in each of us, no matter how small. We spend lifetimes trying to fill that void with things that most often prove to be useless and, at times, even harmful. Why do we find it so hard to allow God’s love, mercy and grace flow into that emptiness instead?

       We love Easter because that nastiness of Good Friday is over, but let’s not look past that that image of the empty tomb.

       Jesus allowed himself to be tortured and hung on that cross in atonement for the sins of the world. His sacrifice wasn’t for the Jews who wanted to see him die; it wasn’t just for the Romans who nailed him to the cross, or those who tucked their tails and fled the scene. Jesus was nailed to the cross by the sins of the past, the sins of the time and the sins that continue to follow after.

       Out of the gaping mouth of that dark, dank, empty tomb continue to pour forth God’s love, God’s goodness and God’s incredible desire that we be joined to him for all eternity. Will we reflect on that empty tomb this Easter Sunday, or will we grab for another chocolate bunny?

       What can we do, you might ask?

       We can give unceasing thanks for the sacrifice. We can bask in this promise of new life, allowing the  graces from the empty tomb to flow around and through us, shaping and forming us into beings worthy of the sacrifice. We can make a greater effort to make peace with our Creator, to ask God to draw us close to his side. We can strive to grow in closer relationship with God each day.

       What I draw from the empty tomb is the realization that I want to walk with Jesus close by my side always, because when death comes and my stone is rolled away, I sure as heck want to make sure I come out on the right side of eternity.

      

       Debbie Bosak is the editor and general manager of Northwest Indiana Catholic Publications and a member of Ss. Peter and Paul Parish in Merrillville. Email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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