Easter Sunday (Ages 3-6): The First One to Know
3-6 year olds
(Adults, you could begin by reading the Gospel aloud to the child. Alternatively, you could read the first paragraph of the reflection to the child, then read the Gospel, and then continue with the reflection.)
We know that Jesus died on the cross and is risen to new life never to die again. This is something we have known for a long time. In fact, we have always known it, haven't we? In the Gospel for Easter Sunday, the first Sunday of the Easter season, we hear about the first person to know it.
It is the first day of the week. The day before was the Sabbath day, the holy day for the Jewish people. The Sabbath day is holy time so Jewish people do not work but stay home to be with family and to pray to God. So Mary Magdalene, one of Jesus' close friends, stayed home all day on the Sabbath. But now, when the Sabbath day is over,
Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb
I wonder why she visits the tomb. She has seen Jesus die on the cross, and she knows that his dead body has been put in the tomb. (Remember what a tomb is?) Maybe she wants to feel close to Jesus because she loves him. But she knows it will never be the same, because he is dead.
What does she expect to see at the tomb? Mary Magdalene expects to find the tomb closed with the huge stone covering the opening. But what does she find?
the stone had been removed from the tomb.
The tomb is wide open! Tombs and graves are not supposed to be left open. Mary Magdalene knows that this is not right. This is not how we show respect for people who have died.
But where is Jesus? His dead body should still be lying in the tomb, but it is not there. The tomb is empty.
What does Mary Magdalene think? She runs to tell two of Jesus' disciples that she thinks someone has,
‘taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.’
She thinks that someone has removed Jesus' dead body and has buried it somewhere else. How can she visit the place where he is buried if she doesn't know where it is?
What does Mary Magdalene do?
Mary stood weeping outside the tomb.
She is already upset because Jesus has died, and now his body is lost. She doesn't know where Jesus is. I wonder if Mary Magdalene feels lost.
But what do we know the Good Shepherd does when a sheep is lost?
he finds it (Luke 15:4)
So, at that moment, Mary Magdalene
turned round and saw Jesus standing there
Jesus was dead, but now he is alive! The Good Shepherd lives!
Now we know that not even death can stop the Good Shepherd from finding his sheep!
Jesus is no longer dead! Jesus is risen to new life never to die again!
But there is still a problem.
she did not know that it was Jesus.
Mary Magdalene does not seem to know who he is. She is not expecting to see Jesus alive. She thinks he must be a gardener.
So what does Jesus do?
Jesus said to her, ‘Mary!’
He calls her by name.
We know that the Good Shepherd,
calls his own sheep by name...and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. (John 10:3b-4)
Now Mary Magdalene knows who he is.
Now she knows what we know--that he is Jesus who is Risen.
Happy Easter! God bless you!