“Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?”
The women who were set on going to Jesus’ tomb to anoint his body with spices were preoccupied with this worry. “But when they looked, they could see that the stone – which was very big – had already been rolled back.” (Mark 16)
How often as individuals, families, parish communities or even as a nation, have we been consumed by worry, anticipating one obstacle or another to the point that we are crippled with fear and inaction?
Here we have the example of the women in the Gospel who stuck together, and were determined to seek Jesus even in the midst of turmoil – personal and social. In the end, they found that their worry had been in vain, save that it had given them a chance to prove their devotion.
In this time of economic and social challenge and with the upcoming Parliamentary elections, anxiety can easily mount at all levels of society, over real and imagined obstacles, challenges or hurdles. That creates an opportunity for us as Church, as country, to prove our faithfulness to God and His people, by asking for His guidance. Our national anthem reminds us that ‘the Lord has been the people’s guide for past three hundred years. With Him still on the people’s side we have no doubts or fears.” This is the time for us to persevere as employers, workers, single parents, families, politicians, NGOs, trade unions, professionals, religious leaders, public servants and, most crucially, as Christians – to make decisions which are not promoting self-interest, but demonstrate a wider care and concern for each other; decisions that show that we are our brother’s and sister’s keeper, safeguarding the common good.
As disciples of Christ, we are called to live as ‘Easter children’, children of hope. I invite you to challenge yourself with the following questions:
a) My Behaviour – Do I give upat the slightest sign of difficulty or disappointment or do I put my trust in God and press on positively with hope? Do I learn from my experiences with humility or do I repeat the same mistakes?
b) My Relationships – Do I treat everyone with dignity and respect or am I shorttempered or condescending in interactions at home and at work? Do I see the face of Christ in each person I encounter?
c) My Stewardship – Do I show gratitude to God who loves me unconditionally and has been abundantly generous to me? Do I share my time, talent and treasure to improve the lives of marginalized persons, the sick, imprisoned and suffering, and work for justice and the common good?
Uncertainty over what they would find did not stop the women in Mark’s Gospel from going to the tomb. Uncertainty about the future should not stop us from acting as a people, and moving forward together with confidence, faithfully seeking Christ and trusting His guidance. What do you want for your country, your family, your children, your grandchildren, yourself? The significance of the Resurrection is that while it does not eliminate obstacles, it defeats their permanence. Obstacles and difficulties are a part of life – how we face them is the challenge. Striving for a future which creates opportunities for integral development of our people and sustainable economic growth is an ideal, but it should not be shunned because it seems difficult to achieve in the short term. We are a resilient people.
Let us imitate the women in our actions today, including in the upcoming Parliamentary elections, by being heralds of good news. As heralds of good news –authentic disciples of Christ – we can have a positive influence through our attitudes, behaviours, conversations and good works.
More than being symbolic of the rolling away of darkness, sin and death, the displaced tombstone leaves open the path to light, mercy and life everlasting. By His Resurrection, Jesus Christ emptied the tomb….and filled it with hope.
He is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!
The Most Rev. Charles Jason Gordon
Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgetown