The Empty Tomb

The body dead, pronouncing despair and doom,

Lying wrapped in linen in the cold tomb.

A large stone in front, guarding the entranceway,

Keeping the corpse secure through night and day.

Heavy stone and heavier heart, such cruel fate.

                                                   A sorrow so great.

Soldiers guarding the tomb of the “impostor,”

Lest the disciples tales of new life foster.

The crying women return at break of day

With ointment and spices to hold back decay.

When all is finished, then to rest by the stone,

                                                   There to cry and groan.

Earthquake and lightning announce the new day’s dawn.

The stone rolled back revealing the body gone.

The linens lay separate, the women were scared.

The angels in dazzling apparel declared

A message of resurrection to convey,

                                                   All fears to allay.

In the midst of disbelief and confusion,

Doubt overtakes them; is this an illusion?

Seeking their Lord, they ask “Where have you laid him?”

To the apostles they return with news grim.

Running fast to the tomb, they stooped looking in,

                                                   Their faith to begin.

Two downcast disciples walk the long slow road,

Hearts hard-pressed to carry so heavy a load.

A stranger walked with them, explaining the pasch.

He broke bread to open eyes; then did they ask:

“The Scriptures’ meaning did we not acquire

                                                   With hearts on fire?”

Coming to the apostles through door locked tight

In their midst with gift of Peace, He calmed their fright.

The absent apostle the good news denied,

’Til He returned and displayed His wounded side.

With faith, the apostle proclaimed with great laud,

                                                   “My Lord and My God!”

Heed ye the angels, wait not for the morrow,

Sit no longer in pain, weeping with sorrow.

Do not stay by the tomb, go to Galilee.

Spread the message, baptizing from sea to sea.

Go forth proclaiming to all in joyous fest!

                                                   Ite, missa est.

Image: Pietro da Cortona, Christ Appears to Mary Magdalene

About this Brother:

Br. Nicholas Schneider, O.P.

Br. Nicholas Schneider, O.P. was born and raised in Vermont. He spent his final semester of high school studying in Russia, and went on to earn a BA in History and Russian at Youngstown State University (OH) and an MA in Russian History at Georgetown University. He served as Director/Assistant Dean for Admissions at Georgetown University School of Medicine for five years prior to entering the Dominicans. On DominicanFriars.org