tomb

BY SARAH NEITZApril 28, 2014

“They have taken my Lord, and I don’t know where they put him.”- John 20:13

The Easter season has coincided with a lot of endings for me. I’m a university minister at the University of Detroit Mercy, and Easter marked the beginning of finals week, and an end to the majority of my time with students as a Jesuit Volunteer. In the past few months, I’ve been so busy. I’ve been growing our student leadership program, working Lenten programs, planning a summer immersion trip… and nowEaster is here, and the end of the semester. All this paschal joy is simultaneous with a sense of loss. I look around me and ask, “Well, now what?”

I’ve been praying with Mary Magdalene this week, and I am drawn to the image of the empty tomb. Last year, working as a case manager in New Mexico, often the empty tomb was all I saw: this symbol of bereavement and failure. But the God-pattern I profess is one where our losses become our greatest gains. Within our darkness, the God beyond imagining arrives, truer and more real than the most true and most real bits of life we’ve known before.

Sometimes in my work for justice as a Jesuit Volunteer, I find myself focusing on the things that are not going well. I start to think that justice is about fixing things and about righting wrongs. It is important work to discover how and why our world doesn’t work the way we hope it could. But all of our work means nothing if we forget that we are the Easter People: the people of the God Who Won’t Stay in the Tomb. God continually calls us to turn around, to speak words of hope and joy. As the Easter people, our hope is more real than injustice.

Mary Magdalene reminds me that our real work begins after our losses, after our suffering, and after resurrection surprises us time and again. I’ll take my time to cry at the tomb as many Detroit Mercy students begin other adventures, because I’m not sure what I’ll do without them. I’m not sure where I’ll find God next. But I have a sneaking suspicion that soon I’ll hear a voice coming from where I least expect it. “Sarah,” it will say, “Why are you weeping?”