Emptiness is Fullness

image by E. Rowe in Canva

Alleluia! We are in the Easter Season! One of the things that is tugging at my heart this year, this Easter, is the fullness of life—the fullness of salvation which can only be found in the empty tomb. Although we are not witnesses to the resurrection as Mary Magdalene was, we are witnesses to and of the empty tomb. 

This year, and every year when we heard St. John’s account of the resurrection on Easter Day, I cannot help but think about how the conditions of the post-resurrection tomb are described; in particular, I think about the condition of the cloth that is by itself. It is the cloth that was wrapped around the head of Jesus. We presume that this cloth was placed there to cover the injuries from the crown of thorns. In the world of dinning etiquette, a napkin folded midway through a meal is an indication to the waiting staff that a person is not finished their meal, but that, for whatever reason, they have left and are coming back. It is often the presumption that the cloth which was on Jesus’ head was left as an indication that he is not finished but he is coming back. Thus, in the emptiness of the tomb, there is the fullness of the expression of :“Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.” 

The same is applied in our celebration of the Holy Eucharist. When at the end of the Eucharist the corporal (which is the linen cloth that is placed on the altar, beneath the chalice and paten) is folded, it indicates to the worshipping community that although the worship has ended, the meal certainly has not—the meal goes on. We come to the table week after week for the nourishment not only to the body but to the soul—we are not finished receiving Jesus, but rather we need him all the more. This is how we witness to the emptiness that only can bring fullness from the tomb. 

This year, let us focus on the fullness which comes from the emptiness. It is from the emptiness that we gain life: eternal life. The tomb is empty but the life lived because the tomb is empty is life in fullness, which can only be described as the joy of the Gospel. Focus on the fact that because the tomb is empty, the cloth indicating that there is going to be a return, there is nothing but joy and also the hope that one day, it will all come to a completion and the joy will be turned to love. The joy that turns to love is the joy of the Gospel giving to us the assurance of the love of God for us. Emptiness is indeed fullness, and this fullness is because there is a tomb in Jerusalem, and it is empty. Thanks be to God! Alleluia! Alleluia! 

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