By Marge Steinhage Fenelon


Light in the Darkness


Now on the first day of the week Mary Mag′dalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb.  So she ran, and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.”  Peter then came out with the other disciple, and they went toward the tomb.  They both ran, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first; and stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in.  Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; he saw the linen cloths lying, and the napkin, which had been on his head, not lying with the linen cloths but rolled up in a place by itself.  Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not know the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. ~ John 20:1-9


From the moment of her conversion, Mary Mag’dalene had been a faithful follower of Jesus. She doted on his every Word and believed in him with all her heart. There is no mention of her in the Last Supper scene, but we know from Scripture that she was there during his Passion and Crucifixion, standing at the Foot of the Cross with his Mother as he spoke his final words. She had heard him say that he would suffer a dishonorable death and would rise again on the Third Day.

Beyond the Scope of Human Possibility

Whenever I hear today’s Gospel, I wonder to myself what was going through Mary Mag’dalene’s mind as she made her way through the dark to the Tomb of Christ. Was she filled with hope and expectation of finding him alive again? Was she filled with sorrow and discouragement over a shattered dream? Jesus’ promise of rising from the dead was beyond the scope of human possibility, yet Mary believed that he was the Messiah, the Son of God. She had seen him perform outrageous miracles that could only have been done by the power of God. Still, she had witnessed his gruesome death, seemingly helpless to save himself. We cannot know the answers to these questions for certain, but we do know that she was faithful in returning to the Tomb on the Third Day. We also know there was an element of surprise since she immediately ran to find Simon Peter and John.

Times of Darkness

I see so much of Mary Mag’dalene in myself. I listen to His Word, follow His teachings as faithfully as I can, and believe in Him with all my heart. Or do I? It is easy to trust in our Lord when things are going well for me. But it can be difficult when it seems like everything in my life is going wrong. At those times, I am like Mary Mag’dalene, trying to make my way through the darkness. My head tells me I should find an empty tomb, but my heart tells me the opposite.

Mary’s trip to the Tomb holds an important lesson for us. When all seems lost, do not doubt, but go to the Tomb anyway. We must keep making our way through the dark and not turn back. There will be an empty tomb after the darkness and despair of our passion. The only way to find it is to keep going. Easter morning reminds us all that Jesus conquered sin and death. He rose from the dead and broke the power of the evil that tried to destroy him. Nothing can change that fact. He is our Risen Savior, and there is nothing he cannot do. Mary Mag’dalene’s trip through the darkness was rewarded; ours will be, too, in ways beyond our human comprehension.



Lord, please help me believe as Mary Mag’dalene did. Fill my heart with peace, joy, and confidence in your power and goodness. Amen.

Call to Action

Spend a few minutes meditating on today’s Gospel. Place yourself in the place of Mary Mag’dalene and imagine what it would have been like to encounter our Lord’s empty Tomb.


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