[The women] left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshipped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.” While they were going, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests everything that had happened. After the priests had assembled with the elders, they devised a plan to give a large sum of money to the soldiers, telling them, “You must say, 'His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.' If this comes to the governor's ears, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” So they took the money and did as they were directed. And this story is still told among the Jews to this day.
In a culture that did not accept as valid the testimony of women, it is remarkable that the four gospels did not hesitate to make Mary Magdalene’s the first testimony of the resurrection of Jesus.
The chief priests and the Jewish authorities also had a ‘first’: they were the first to give an explanation of the empty tomb. They would be followed by a cloud of theologians throughout the centuries who have tried to explain everything in the Faith. To explain is to explain away, because our explanations never do justice to reality. The word ‘explain’ comes from Latin and means ‘to flatten out’. A mystery flattened out is only a theory at best. Perhaps it will be especially through the testimony of women that the mysteries will become mysteries again.
Alleluia! is our word in the Easter season: sung, played, repeated endlessly. It is a cry of exultation – not a nervous and superficial one, but quiet, because deep. The joy of Easter is a deep joy that is not tied to any passing event but only to the resurrection of Jesus – and our rising with him.
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