“He has taken my hopelessness away”–Easter Message from Bishop Dr. Munib A. Younan
Dear sisters and brothers in Christ:
Is there anyone on earth who hasn’t experienced a loss of hope? This experience is so common to humanity that I’m sure we all know the signs: tears, lack of energy, confused thinking, fear, withdrawal. So we can easily imagine how Mary Magdalene was feeling that day as she went to Jesus’ tomb. She had seen her Lord and Savior, Jesus, crucified on the cross just days before. She went to the garden, prepared to anoint the lifeless body of her beloved Master with spices. But when she arrived, she didn’t even have the comfort of performing this traditional ritual. Jesus’ body was gone.
“They have taken my Lord away,” she cried. Her Lord – who represented her hope for this life and the next – was gone. She ran to tell the disciples, who ran to the tomb and confirmed the awful truth – Jesus’ body was gone. They believed Mary’s words when they saw his grave clothes lying where his body should have been. And then, the text says, they went home, hopeless.
But Mary stayed – perhaps to lament, perhaps to solve the mystery. There’s no way to know what went on inside her broken heart and tormented mind. Standing outside the empty tomb crying, she looked inside again, as though to convince herself of the sad reality. This time, there were two angels inside. “Why are you crying?” they asked her. Again, a man she did not recognize asks her, “Why are you crying?”
She answers with the same words she said to the disciples: “They have taken my Lord away.” And her tears, her demeanor and her body confirm, “They have taken my hope away.”
Jerusalem, as the site of the resurrection, should be the city of hope. But many people here, Israeli and Palestinian alike, find it easy to relate to Mary’s sadness.