Holy Saturday, Easter Eve in Holy Week,
March 31, 2018
Today’s reading has become my favourite bit of Mark.
The women go to do what is proper, once the Sabbath is over. They will anoint the body, a bit belatedly, as the unnamed woman did precociously a few days earlier. The body will smell better, as it goes the way of all flesh and is prepared to arrive purified in the next world, the world of God – leaving this world of ours.
The morning after the Sabbath – Sunday morning, was the first day of the week as Saturday, the Sabbath, was the last day, when God and all of us rested after six days of work.
The women are worried about rolling the stone from the mouth of the tomb – though Joseph had done it. But they see it is already rolled back.
Inside, they meet a young man in a white robe, sitting on the right side. They are alarmed. The figure tells them not to be alarmed – as it that ever works.
He says the crucified Jesus is not there – he has been raised. The tomb is empty. No body.
The figure gives them a job: go tell the disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee, and there you will see him, just as he told you.
So they run – terrified and amazed.
Did they do their job?
Just like the disciples throughout Mark, they don’t get it, don’t do the right thing, and now are deserters, breaking their link in the chain of transmission.
And the gospel ends that way.
If you had no other gospel, only Mark, what would you conclude?
If you’re hearing this version of the good news, you are in some community of faith, part of the Christian movement. Apparently the women’s failure to do what they were told to do was not fatal to the movement!
What do you make of this account of worlds colliding, God’s and ours?
What do you make of the disciples who don’t get it and don’t do the right thing in response – and yet somehow participated in the initial explosions of God’s world crashing in on this one?
How will you respond, in your turn?
Tomorrow is Easter Day – and we are Easter people.
What will that look like this year?
When the sabbath was over,
and Mary the mother of James,
so that they might go and anoint him.
And very early on the first day of the week,
when the sun had risen,
they went to the tomb.
They had been saying to one another,
‘ Who will roll away the stone for us
from the entrance to the tomb?’
When they looked up,
they saw that the stone,
which was very large,
had already been rolled back.
As they entered the tomb,
they saw a young man,
dressed in a white robe,
sitting on the right side;
and they were alarmed.
But he said to them,
‘Do not be alarmed;
you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth,
who was crucified.
He has been raised;
he is not here.
Look, there is the place they laid him.
But go, tell his disciples
that he is going ahead of you
there you will see him,
just as he told you.’
So they went out
and fled from the tomb,
for terror and amazement
had seized them;
and they said nothing to anyone,
for they were afraid.