LOOKING FOR THE LIVING – Easter Sunday: Resurrection of the Lord, Year C

April 17, 2022

Revised Common Lectionary
Acts 10:34-43 or Isaiah 65:17-25
Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24
1 Corinthians 15:19-26 or Acts 10:34-43
John 20:1-18 or Luke 24:1-12

Lectionary for Mass (RC)
Acts 10:34a, 37-453
Psalm 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23 (24)
Colossians 3:1-4 or 1 Corinthians 5:6b-8
John 20:1-9 or Luke 24:1-12

The faithful women that Luke names in his resurrection account—Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women—had journeyed with Jesus for a long time and provided for the material needs of his ministry. After his execution at the hands of imperial power, these loyal followers kept the Sabbath, then came to the tomb early in the morning to complete the burial process.

Luke recounts that the women were “perplexed” (Lk 24:4) when they discovered that the stone had been rolled away and then again when they found no body inside the tomb. They were “terrified” at the appearance of two men in dazzling robes who asked, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen” (24:5).

Did they not remember? Surely they had heard him teach on several occasions that he would be mistreated, put to death, and then rise on the third day. And yet, they looked for him here—among the dead—in the cave where his body had been placed.

The story of the empty tomb is a challenge even today for us who follow Jesus. If he is not to be found among the dead, then where?

Where indeed is the risen Christ to be found? He is the unrecognized stranger who walks the road, opens minds and hearts, and breaks bread with those who have lost hope. He is the least among us, looking to us for food, drink, clothing, shelter, and compassion. He is the shepherd who cares for the helpless and the needy. He is the all too familiar spouse, child, or family member who looks to us for kindness and love.

The risen One is present when two or three gather in his name. He is among us when we open the scriptures and tell the stories of God. And if our eyes are open, we will recognize him in the breaking of bread.

Today’s Gospel story provides the challenge: “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen” (24:5). Over the next fifty days of Easter, we are given the opportunity to see beyond an empty tomb to the wonder of resurrection life all around us.

A Hymn for Today: “Christ Has Risen While Earth Slumbers”

This Easter hymn by Iona community leaders John L. Bell, FHS, and Graham Maule, celebrates the living presence of Christ among us today, even in strange or unexpected places.

Christ has risen while earth slumbers;
Christ has risen where hope died,
as he said and as he promised,
as we doubted and denied.
Let the moon embrace the blessing;
let the sun sustain the cheer;
let the world confirm the rumor:
Christ is risen, God is here!

Christ has risen for the people
whom he died to love and save;
Christ has risen for the women
bringing flow’rs to grace his grave.
Christ has risen for disciples
huddled in an upstairs room.
He whose word inspired creation
can’t be silenced by the tomb.

Christ is risen and for ever
lives to challenge and to change
all whose lives are messed or mangled,
all who find religion strange.
Christ is risen, Christ is present
making us what he has been:
evidence of transformation
in which God is known and seen.

Text: John L. Bell and Graham Maule, 1988. Used by permission under OneLicense #A-729857.

Image Credit: The Three Marys at the Tomb, Lorenzo Monaco, France, manuscript illustration, 1396

“Word and Song: A Lectionary Reflection” is written by the Executive Director of The Hymn Society, Rev. Dr. Mike McMahon. For his full bio, click here and scroll down to the “staff” section.

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