Are you ready to leave the tomb of our self-pity…to embrace the joy and freedom of New Life?
When injured physically, we immediately place a cloth over the wound to stop bleeding. But, if we don’t remove it after a short time, that wound may become infected because it has not been cleaned or disinfected. This is the part of the story of the tomb in which Jesus was laid.
Are we ready to come out of the tomb? Perhaps you are confused?
After the suffering and death of Jesus, we have Holy Saturday: the tomb of Jesus – or, better, the moment of Jesus in the tomb – is a time of regeneration, a time of healing and of letting go.
We don’t know what time Jesus emerged from the tomb, it was done in silence and alone. In the same way, each of us must make that critical decision to let the past go. No human rolled the stone back for Jesus; and we, alone, must decide to open our wounds for healing.
As we celebrate the victory of Jesus Christ over death, it’s a moment for us to look deep within ourselves and reflect on the wounds that we carry with us. At times, we can feel anger at the happiness and success of others because we are still hurting.
Easter is best, and truly celebrated, when it becomes personal for us.
The liberating moment when we finally let the past go: when we truly forgive.
The wounds we received are “Good Friday” for us – assuming they are not self-inflicted! After being deeply wounded – usually the internal, emotional kind of wounded-ness – we move into a period of internal emptiness: even though, outwardly, we might be the life of the party!!
Our outward actions can be a way of trying to bury and forget our emotional wounds. Today’s Feast is an encouragement to us to see that true and lasting joy will come, if we take time to properly mourn and heal our wounds, and then letting them go.
The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is a moment and model of true freedom: Jesus appears to his disciples and special friends crying for him in a manner that beings them joy and hope. Jesus DOES NOT visit his former enemies, confuse or humiliate them. (Nelson Mandela?)
The Resurrection teaches us that we have to let the past go if we want true freedom and joy in life. Christ did this by forgiving his “enemies” while still on the Cross. ie. while still suffering, Christ gave forgiveness and let go the causes of His pain. That is the challenge for us, also.
Even so, Jesus needed a particular time of “emptiness” and silence, in order to teach us that we, too, need a period of transition into new life (Holy Saturday): so we can mourn our loss.
The challenge, I think, is knowing how long to stay in the tomb. We can become addicted to people feeling sorry for us, or feeling sorry for ourselves.
While it’s good to help people see a rosy future, and help them get new opportunities to start again, it’s important, also, to challenge our friends and ourselves; at a certain point, we have to tell them/us to: “grow up”, “suck it up princess” or other words appropriate to your context.
Before getting “tough,” however, it’s essential that we also make ourselves available to LISTEN to the wounds so they can be healed: the period of transition. St Paul took 3 years!
The Gospel tells us that the linen clothes were lying on the ground,
but that the cloth that was around the head was in a different place.
To me, this is a statement about physical AND emotional wounds and healing: clothes on the ground = physical wounds; clothes on the head = emotional wounds.
Before we can fully enter into joy, our wounds must be “exposed” so they can be healed. Exposed does not mean the whole community has to know, but at least a trusted person in our lives must be called on so that the wound can be drawn out of the suffering person.
I’m not a theologian but that, perhaps, is how Jesus’ body was healed: after the nakedness of Jesus’ death and humiliation, and in the silence of Holy Saturday, God drew out the wounds of Jesus’ physical body and transformed them through His Divinity into peace and joy.
This is reflected in the Sacrament of Penance. Where a person exposes their sins to God through the physical presence of the priest who “draws out the wounds” so that, to paraphrase Fr Rolheiser OMI: the wounds no longer control us, but we control them: freedom begins.
Henri Nouwen (Wed reflection: 8–Apr-20), says that “Solidarity is the Other Side of Intimacy”. One of our tasks as Christians – and truly part of the pathway to joy – is to be ready to listen, to challenge and celebrate with those who are wounded. To wait in silence for the moment.
By Gerard Conlan, OMI