Prepare for Easter Sunday: The mystery of the empty tomb

Each week in OSV Newsweekly, Carl Olson provides a thoughtful, relevant reflection on the Mass readings for Sunday in his "Opening the Word" column. The following is just an excerpt, but you can read the entire column here.

“How can I lay open before you the mystery of the Lord’s resurrection, the saving grace of his cross and of his three days’ death?” asked St. John Chrysostom in a Holy Saturday homily. “For each and every event that happened to our Savior is an outward sign of the mystery of our redemption.” This mystery isn’t an event that can’t be known; rather, it’s an event whose meaning and power cannot be fully plumbed. The mystery of the empty tomb is not a puzzle to be solved, but a saving truth to be proclaimed.
Mass readings
Read more about the Sunday readings in OSV Newsweekly.

This has always been confusing and controversial. This is understandable, for many people feel the story of Easter seems too good to be true. Also, if it is true, it demands a radical and transforming change in perspective, which is one reason some try to turn the Resurrection into a “spiritual” event whose meaning differs according to the needs of the individual. Some insist, for instance, the Gospel accounts depict a shaken community finding solace in a shared narrative that is not meant to be historical and objectively true, but internal and subjective.  

However, the vast majority of people are not willing to completely change their lives, and to even die, for a consoling story rooted in wishful self-deception. There is also the grounded, historical nature of the Gospel accounts, which depict the disciples acting as we would expect they would after Jesus’ death and then the discovery of his empty tomb. Throughout the three years of Jesus’ ministry, the disciples often misunderstood the words and works of their master; he regularly had to explain and interpret for them. This was especially true of his words about his approaching passion, death and resurrection.

Read Olson's entire column to prepare for Sunday Mass.

Jennifer Rey is the web editor of Our Sunday Visitor Publishing. Follow her on Twitter @JenReyOSV.