Christians through the ages have focused a lot of reflection on the large stone that had been laid to the mouth of Jesus’ tomb.  When Mary Magdalene went to the tomb she found the stone removed.  That large material object  -  which was also the most convincing objection to faith  -  was gone; and she was the first witness to this.  The Risen Lord would show later on that he could no longer be restricted by material conditions: “When…the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them” (John 20:19).  And so, that stone could not have held him prisoner in the tomb.  Its removal was a sign of the resurrection, not a condition for it.  Bede the Venerable (8th century) wrote, “[The angel] rolled back the stone not to throw open a way for our Lord to come forth, but to provide evidence to people that he had already come forth.”
            No tomb on earth can hold the Lord and giver of life.  No material stone, however heavy, can imprison him.  But we should not imagine that material stones are the hardest and heaviest things in the world.  Who would have guessed that thoughts, which are made of nothing at all, could be heavier and harder than any stone?  But experience tells us it is so.  We are able to seal our minds and hearts with impenetrable stones of prejudice, hatred and fear.  “To behold the resurrection, the stone must first be rolled away from our hearts,” wrote Peter Chrysologus (5th century). 

Donagh O'Shea

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