Reflection of Sr. Natalie Sayde Salameh
Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen! El Massih Kam! Hakan Kam!
The following passage from the Gospel of St. Mark was proclaimed on Easter Sunday in the Maronite Church:
When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary, the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go and anoint him. Very early when the sun had risen, on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb. They were saying to one another, “Who will roll back the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” When they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back; it was very large. On entering the tomb they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a white robe, and they were utterly amazed. He said to them, “Do not be amazed! You seek Jesus of Nazareth, the crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Behold, the place where they laid him. But go and tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him, as he told you.’” Then they went out and fled from the tomb, seized with trembling and bewilderment. They said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid (Mk 16: 1 – 8).
Still reeling from the torturous passion and death of their Master on the Cross on Friday, St. Mark tells us that these women came to the tomb “very early” on Sunday to anoint the Body of Jesus (cf Mk 16: 2). St. Mark doesn’t tell us the exact time these women set out for the tomb, but we do know that it was at the crack of dawn. That is the time of day when most of us are trying to rouse ourselves from sleep, while functioning on ‘slow motion’, edging our way toward the coffee machine.
But for these three women, it was almost like they couldn’t wait for the sun to dawn on that day and for the Sabbath to be over so that they might perform this beautiful service of love of anointing the Lord. They were consumed with zeal to anoint the Anointed One, showing us that nothing is ever too hard, nothing is ever to strenuous, when we act out of pure love. They were so consumed with their task of love and service that they completely forgot one major obstacle, the large stone blocking their way to the Body of Jesus. It was only during the course of their journey to the tomb that they began to ask themselves, “Who will roll back the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” (Mk 16: 3).
Usually most of us before we set out on undertaking our task will plan and calculate to the umpteenth degree on how we are going to go about it, and we try and foresee any issues that may arise. But the Gospel shows so vividly that these women thought of nothing else but getting to Jesus to perform this beautiful service. If we are honest with ourselves most of us are always consumed by the obstacles in performing our deeds of service; the first thing we see in our lives is the large stone blocking our way, and this usually makes us slow to act or discourages us altogether. But these three women are a beautiful testimony of how God takes care of all our worries, concerns and obstacles, if we let Him, if we TRUST. O boy, is that hard for us mortals. Why is it so hard for us to trust God? The answer is simple. We think that by planning and calculating things ourselves, we can control various situations, and let’s face it, if we are honest, we like to be in control. But in the above Gospel passage, we see clearly that God is really the One in charge.
No sooner had the women arrived at the tomb, they found the stone rolled back, the obstacle was removed by no doing of their own (cf Mk 16:4). All they did on that Sunday morning was set with love to serve the Lord, and God took care of the rest. The lesson here is that we must allow Divine Providence to act in our lives, we can’t plan everything, and believe me, we control nothing. Let Him be Who He truly Is, Our Savior. Let us all strive to become like these three women consumed with zeal to serve the Lord in all the little ways we can, and let God take care of the rest.