Sunday, April 04, 2021

The work of Easter

Like the women in the Gospel this morning, Mary of Magdala and Salome, I rose early this morning. As they undoubtedly were, I was wrapped in a shawl against the cold, all of us off to seek the Lord. There was no music, no alleluias at the first Mass of the morning. No Easter sequence. Just the Paschal candle burning hard and bright next to the ambo, a reminder of the mysteries celebrated here last night. I prayed. I listened for the Lord. I received, that I might become...if not whole, at least less fractured.

Then I went home and cleaned the kitchen and made sweet spice bread for breakfast. As I scrubbed last night’s sheet pans, I wondered if this really was how I should be celebrating Easter, clad in a well-worn apron and wielding a soapy sponge. Or perhaps this is precisely how Jesus imagined the celebration as he knelt on the floor, a towel around his waist, washing feet. Women, up early to do the work of feeding the hungry and tending to the needs of the living and the dead. Women with the courage to stay in the face of unspeakable pain, and a scandalous death. Women with the courage to profess what they had seen, in the face of mockery and derision.

I didn’t hear about these women in this morning’s homily, though I wished I had. I hear them now, though, wondering how they would roll the stone back so they could care for the Body of Christ. I’m wondering much the same thing.


  1. As always, you write about (and in the way) that most touches me. I have been transfixed today by an illumination from a 13th century Syriac lectionary, that shows the three women on their way into the tomb holding vessels with oils to dress the body — the work of women — and Mary Magdalene turning her head to catch a glimpse of Christ. Without the willingness to do their sorrowful, difficult but also "ordinary" work, there can be no glimpse. Thank you for finding time to write this amid your sweet, bitter and "ordinary."

    1. Oh - I think I found it! It’s poignantly beautiful.