Bewilderment and Fear

Mar 31, 2023; Mark 16:1-7; Easter Sunday

If you were to go home after mass today and look in your bibles to find the gospel passage that Deacon Greg just proclaimed to us, you would find it in the Gospel of Mark. But it would have a different ending. The passage that we just heard ends with the words of the young man at the tomb to the women: “Go and tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him, as he told you.’” But in the bible there is another verse. It gives us the reaction of the women. It says, “They went out and fled from the tomb, seized with trembling and bewilderment. They said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.” It’s not a very positive verse, is it? And I think that is why those who chose our liturgical readings left it out. They did not want the beauty of the Easter proclamation to end with the women’s bewilderment and fear. But it is in your bibles. And I think the evangelist Mark placed it there because he understood that Easter had something important to say about our bewilderment and fear.

There are many times in life when we are bewildered, overcome by the things we have to face. It could be a problem in our family, an issue with a spouse, a child, or an aging parent. It might be a challenge to our finances that keeps us up at night or a decision that we have to make about our future that we cannot resolve. And with bewilderment there is often fear: fear of the unknown, fear that we will not have the wisdom and courage we need, fear that we will lose someone we love, fear of suffering and death.

The evangelist Mark ends his Easter story with bewilderment and fear, because he understands that it is only from that vantage point that the true glory of Easter can be seen. That is why the most important word in the Gospel is the word spoken by the young man to the bewildered and frightened women: “Go!” Go into your bewilderment, into your fear, for there you will see Jesus, the Risen One, the One who promises to be with you always.

So on this Easter morning, there is hope, no matter what we have to face. The tomb is empty, and Jesus goes before us into whatever we must face. We must believe and go, go into our bewilderment and fear, because it is there that we will see the One who loves us. It is there that the words of the young man to the women will ring true. For there you will see the Risen Lord, just as he told you.

2 thoughts on “Bewilderment and Fear”

  1. Thank you for bringing this verse to our attention, and for your exegesis on it.
    Very validating. Happy Easter to you,
    Fr. George.


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