Andrée Endinger's preaching for Easter : Brothers and sisters, dear friends, this morning I have only good news for us. Doesn't it make a difference to us?
Twenty-one centuries after that Passover day (jewish easter), when Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Salome, after accompanying Jesus to his death on the cross, set out in the early hours of the morning to the tomb in which Joseph of Arimathea placed the body of Jesus a few hours earlier. They have bought spices to embalm Jesus... perhaps they have found some of the nard that an unknown woman from Bethany poured on Jesus' head, thus embalming him while he was still alive!
So on this Easter morning of 2021, I invite you to take this path to the tomb, following in the footsteps of these three women.
The two Marys and Salome advance in silence, in deep sadness. They do not express their distress, which we can nevertheless guess: in fact, they are going to carry out the work reserved for women who, just as they accompany the birth, take care of the death and the last gestures of tenderness and homage to the one who is no longer and who was dear to them...
But they express a concern: "Who will roll away the stone from the entrance of the tomb? " This is a legitimate question and concern, as they know that they will not be able to do it alone! This question also tells us that these women, even if they are sad, remain in life and have kept a little grain of hope in their hearts. They have hope that someone, a gardener, will be there to help them... With courage, they got up at sunrise and set out on the road, despite the fear, despite the sadness, without letting themselves be locked in despair.
So this morning, let us dare to go towards Jesus, without fear and without complexes, just as we are, with our failings, our regrets, our fears, I don't know your lives, but what I do know is that for each of you, life brings its share of sorrows. Yes, it is with our own questions and worries that we move forward this morning towards Easter, but also with all the collective uncertainties generated by the strange health situation that we have been experiencing for a year. The resurrection is not a magic wand, as we will discover with our three companions of the day.
"Who will roll the stone for us? "
The three women are faced with an impossible task and throughout their walk they have repeated this question, without knowing that it is another impossible task that awaits them at the tomb. Indeed, when they arrive, the stone has already been rolled away. We don't know by whom, or how, but it is a fact: the question that preoccupied them on the way there is no longer an issue.
Don't we find ourselves a little in this experience of Mary and Salome? Don't we often have questions that weigh on us like a lid that cannot be lifted, questions that suddenly become unnecessary because the answer is given by itself? And we wouldn't even really know how all these impossibilities in our lives suddenly became possible. In any case, I have already experienced this.
The stone was rolled away and the impossible became possible. They enter into the tomb and another impossible awakens their fear. They were expecting death, and it is life that welcomes them in the person of a young man dressed in white. The tomb, guardian of death, becomes a bearer of life, an opening to life.
They were expecting death and it is life that they find.
And between these two realities, death and life, between the death of Jesus on the cross and the resurrection of Jesus, there is the Sabbath. They observed, as good Jews, the time of the Sabbath and this took precedence over the duty to render to a dead man, even if it was Jesus!
For Jews, the Sabbath is more important than death and mourning. It is the first holiday of Judaism, the day of the week when the Creator regenerates his creatures in rest. Before honoring the dead, the first duty of the believer is to honor the God of life. The words of Genesis resound "there was evening and there was morning", light bursts into the night, into the darkness.
And for us Christians, this is as wonderful news as it is for Judaism: life breaks through death!
Between the silence of death and the joy of resurrection, there is this moment when God takes up all the space, where God rests, rests, and where I rest in in him. To come out of our deaths, we must perhaps take the time to rest in God, in the silence, in peace of heart, in prayer... a time a time of Sabbath to let the word of God reach us and grow within us.
"He is risen, he is not here"
Mary Magdalene, Mary and Salome enter the tomb and are greeted by a young man dressed in white. Is it a man, is it an angel? Mark does not say. He is sitting on the right side, the divine place, and we can immediately understand that he is a divine messenger.
In any case, it is he who gives meaning to the event. The rolled stone and and the absence of a body in the tomb do not mean anything in themselves: the body could have been moved! The words spoken are not going to explain the event, but to give meaning to the emptiness in the tomb.
The first words of this young man are intended to reassure the women who are frightened: "Don't be frightened". For them, the vision of a divine messenger immediately translates into fear, a reflex fear, a reflex that comes from the First Testament and is still anchored in the Judaism of of the time.
For us, these words sum up the Easter faith: Do not be afraid! Do not be afraid of life and death, do not be afraid of God and of your neighbor, Live your life... And perhaps a good way to welcome the message of the resurrection is to question oneself about one's fears, to visit them in one's prayer and to oppose them with the great announcement: "Christ is risen! "
This divine messenger then announces the resurrection of Jesus. And Mark's gospel does not describe it, it only announces the resurrection and speaks of a resurrection and speaks of an empty tomb and therefore of an absence at that place
It is God who resurrects Jesus, and to proclaim the resurrection is to recognize, as on the Sabbath, the creative work of God who brings life where man expects only death
"He is not here"
Jesus did not allow himself to be locked up by the tomb and death. He will never be a prisoner of our rites, our liturgies, our theologies, our fears and our beliefs. He is alive and life can never be contained.
And this is another wonderful news for us Christians. The tomb is empty and we have nothing to erect as a statue, nothing to possess, nothing to hold, nothing to idolize... Jesus cannot be reduced to an idol. He left the tomb empty and a hollow in each of us, a place of expectation, desire, hope... of prayer, a hollow in which we can gather a word from God provided we keep our hands and hearts open, waiting and ready to give... Our faith rests on a hollow, like a womb, which can receive and which can give... Our faith rests on a word and the experience we are called to live is to put on our lips the creed of the young man "Jesus of Nazareth who was crucified has risen".
The tomb is empty and Jesus is the Living One...
"He is not here".. but then where is he?
"Go and tell his disciples that he is going before you to Galilee..." Galilee is where it all began. It is the land of the apostles, the land of their childhood of their childhood, of their encounter with Jesus. The return to Galilee announces resurrection that does not take place outside our history, but fully in the history of our lives, in what we are at the deepest deepest part of us... It is today, in our Galilee, in the everyday life of our that we are called to resurrect. Resurrection does not mean that our world is no longer inhabited by forces of death. Our lives are marked by mourning, suffering, trials... Resurrection means that the reality of darkness need not and cannot prevent us from overcoming our fear, from becoming who you are and living as resurrected people in our Galilee.
May we be, like Mary of Magdala, Mary mother of James and Salome, overwhelmed by this incredible and wonderful news of the resurrection.
May we go forward in spite of the fear, the silence, the incomprehension on the new roads of our Galilee with the confident faith that the Living One goes before us and awaits us there.
Andrée Endinger's preaching for Easter