Christ Has Risen, Run and Tell That!
"So she ran and went to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them..." (Jn. 20:1-9)
The gospel reading on the Resurrection of the Lord, with Mary of Magdala going to the tomb early in the morning to see the body of Jesus, is fascinating. However, Mary's reaction to the sudden surprise of the body being gone is more intriguing. Mary's instincts remind me of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s sermon, A Drum Major Instinct. Dr. King said, "there is deep down within all of us an instinct. It's a kind of drum major instinct—a desire to be out front, a desire to lead the parade, a desire to be first. And it is something that runs the whole gamut of life." Christ Has Risen, Run and Tell That!
One must admire Mary's instinct to run, not walk to her community. She was out in front, wanting to tell the news she had discovered. Interestingly, though, when she told the disciples that the tomb was empty, the scriptures say, "They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter and arrived at the tomb first" (Jn. 20:4). Again, we see this drum major instinct working in our narrative. The disciples ran and did not walk, perhaps because of fear or disbelief. No one knows. Christ Has Risen, Run and Tell That!
However, we know that Mary and the disciples used their instinct to run. They ran, not because they wanted to be a leader in the crowd but because their relationship with the Savior was meaningful. They had walked, talked, cried, and rejoiced with the Savior. They must now stand at the tomb and make meaning of Jesus' final words to the disciples, especially since Jesus' body is missing. The scriptures say, "For they did not yet understand the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead" (Jn. 20:9). It is important to note here, though, that they stood together as a community. No one walked away trying to figure this scene out. I believe they asked themselves and each other what the empty tomb meant. Christ Has Risen, Run and Tell That!
What does the empty tomb mean to you? Run and Tell That!
Author: Evang./Prof. Michael Howard, MACS,
Facilitator, University of Dayton, VLCFF,
The University of Notre Dame, McGrath Institute, STEP Online,
Lead Faculty and Course Designer "The Presence of Black Catholics in the Church Today and Tomorrow" Loyola Marymount University,
Founder of Eat the Scroll Ministry