The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.” Then they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb, they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest. Now it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told this to the apostles. (Luke 24:5-10)
It is well worth pondering that the first people who discover the empty tomb are the women: specifically, Mary Magdalene, Joanna (a woman among those whom Jesus healed earlier in Luke’s gospel; see Luke 8:2-3), Mary the mother of James (whose identity is of mysterious dispute), and ‘the other women with them.’ The text says that they ‘were terrified’ at finding the tomb empty and meeting the angels, but we ought not to forget that these were the folks who courageous enough and devoted enough to tend to and care for Jesus’ body after he’d died, notwithstanding the watchful eye of the political and religious leaders under whose rule he’d been executed. Not the disciples. Not the men who would become so central to the founding of the early church. But the women who, out of their love for our Lord, sought to care for him even in his death. May we emulate something of their own bravery and fearlessness in our own day.
Let us pray: O God, whose blessed Son made himself known to his disciples in the breaking of bread: Open the eyes of our faith, that we may behold him in all his redeeming work; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Pray: Spend a moment today thinking of a woman who has made a categorical difference in your life. Say a prayer for her, asking God’s blessing on her this Easter, if living, and for the repose of her soul in our Lord’s presence, if dead. Give thanks to God for her.