And all at once there was a violent earthquake, for the angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled away the stone and sat on it. His face was like lightning, his robe white as snow. The guards were so shaken, so frightened of him, that they were like dead men. But the angel spoke; and he said to the women, ‘There is no need for you to be afraid. I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said he would. Come and see the place where he lay, then go quickly and tell his disciples, “He has risen from the dead and now is going before you to Galilee; it is there you will see him”. Now I have told you.’ Filled with awe and great joy the women came quickly away from the tomb and ran to tell the disciples.
Something I love in this passage, is how the angel completely ignores the armed guards to speak to these faithful women. I find it beyond wonderful that these representatives of the power of Rome and of the Sanhedrin are nothing to the angel.
I imagine the angel sitting on the stone with the biggest, most childish grin you have ever seen. He swings his legs for the fun of it, or has his legs crossed and leans forward over them in his eagerness. His every word seems like it is holding back, or perhaps just holding, a whole flood of laughter. He has no time and no care for these mortal men standing guard over death.
And notice how different their reactions are: the guards are so shaken, so frightened of him, that they are like dead men; the women on the other hand, are filled with awe and great joy, coming quickly away from the tomb and running to tell the disciples. The women are afraid in a completely different way.
What are they both afraid of? Life. Of course, no one likes death. But it is, well… comfortable. We know death, it’s predictable, it’s easy. But life! Life goes off in a million different directions according to its own whims! Life can’t be predicted or contained, except by death. And now even death has been conquered!
For the women, this means the hope of absolute life. It means the story of Jesus saving the world is only beginning. It means love is and always will be victorious.
For the guards, this means they are rendered powerless. They have failed to control a corpse! No amount of violence can ever defeat the freedom of the children of God!
God bless you and Alleluia!