LIKE A ROLLING STONE


And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week they went to the tomb when the sun had risen. And they were saying to one another, ‘Who will roll away the stone for us from the door of the tomb?’ And having looked up, they saw that the stone was rolled back—it was very large. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe; and they were greatly amazed (ἐξεθαμβήθησαν).” (Mk 16: 1-5)

The “stone” that covered the door of the tomb rolled along a track, carved into the front of the tomb, and probably weighed about a ton. Three women could not have possibly rolled this stone away. Call me sexist, but the fact is, this was a job for several men. So it is highly impractical of the women, really, not to have any “plan” in this regard. They are on their own. It’s also curious, to my mind, that they did not ask any of the male disciples to come along to help. Perhaps at this point they could not count on the disciples, who were devastated, having abandoned their Lord in His final hours. “How does it feel, / To be on your own?” I’m asking the women, perhaps inappropriately, in the words of Bob Dylan. "Like a rolling stone…,” they're replying.

But the women come anyway, on their own. It’s illogical, this going forward, alone. They want to show their love for the now-dead (as they thought) Lord, even though they have no idea how, exactly, they will do this. And God rewards their courageous helplessness, beyond all their expectations.

I’m not sure this reflection makes any sense. But here’s what I take away from it: Let me go forward today, with any “spices” or other offering I can muster up for my Lord, whether in prayer, or a kind word or act in His name, or something else, – however insufficient and helpless I happen to be. And let me leave the whole business of rolling “stones” or obstacles away to God, because that is His department.

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