Now, if I were to ask you what a “tomb” is, you would probably answer something like: “A tomb is the final resting place for a dead body.” In the light of today’s Easter joy, however, maybe you consider a new definition for tomb: “A tomb is the place of the resurrection!”
John’s gospel (Jn 20:1-9) tells us that Mary Magdalene was at the tomb, and the other gospels tell us it was for the purpose of anointing the dead body of Jesus. It would appear that the original reason for “anointing” a dead body by Israelites is lost to history. However, the basic purpose of the act of anointing as it developed through the prophets was to enact a sacred ritual intended to make things holy, to set them apart for God or dedicate them to God. So we could infer that Mary Magdalene was there to give a final blessing (anointing) to the body, before ‘the end’ – i.e., the time when the tomb was sealed forever and the body began to decompose.
But Mary Magdalene and everyone else was wrong! The tomb is not the end! The tomb is the place of the resurrection, for each one of us! And Jesus was the first to rise from the tomb with a body that would no longer know death or pain. St. Augustine wrote, “It is easy to believe that Jesus died. What is greater is to believe that he has risen!” And that exclamation mark at the end of that sentence also expresses our joy at what our faith tells us awaits us after we die: resurrection of the body at the end of time, as He promised!
He is Risen! The truth of Jesus’ divinity is confirmed by his Resurrection; and by his Resurrection. He opens the way to a new life for us. This is the principle and the source of our own future resurrection.