Read John 20:11-18.

Why are you weeping? (John 20:13)

Angels seem usually to appear to announce big news. You are going to have more descendants than there are stars in the sky. You are going to have a baby. To you is born a savior. But these angels have only a question for Mary: “why are you weeping?”

There is big news to be sure. Jesus is risen! The bonds of sin and death are broken! Heaven and earth are made new! God and humanity are united! The eternal plan, the plan angels had been searching into from time immemorial, the plan that is the focal point of history, the great plan is complete! Surely the angels are bursting with joy! But all the angels say is “why are you weeping?”

Why indeed are you weeping O Mary, you who have been cured of seven evil spirits, you who love and follow Jesus and provide for him, you who know him well, you who have been told he must die and rise again? Can you not see beyond the day to the epoch? Can you not feel beyond the pain to the joy? O, what a joyful moment it would be for one with faith!

A voice speaks: “why are you weeping?” But now it is not the angels’ voice, it is a familiar voice. The one you love. “Why are you weeping?” The voice is ever so compassionate, but is there a hint of disappointment? No, not disappointment, but an invitation to move on. The promise of immense joy. Look up, see, know, love, and be filled with joy.

Why are you weeping, soul? Where is your faith? Have I not told you that there would be death, and then resurrection? Have I not told you that I have a prepared a place for you? Do not hold onto what was. Embrace what is to come. The proper response, the only possible response for one with faith, is overwhelming, all-encompassing joy, a joy that embraces all of creation. Even if your loved one has been taken from you, rejoice! All things have been made new!

Lord, increase our love, that it may bring forth joy.


Easter Day, Year C


Harry Plantinga

Harry Plantinga is a professor of computer science at Calvin College and the director of ccel.org and hymnary.org.