Holy Week reflection: Bishop Noel Treanor - There is a place for all of us in the Easter story
THE empty tomb stunned the women and the disciples. If Calvary was horrific, the absence of Jesus' body was a further blow to their sense of his identity.
But then the women reported strange news. What to make of it? Was he alive somehow?
When with them, he had talked about rising from the dead. He had said curious things about a death he would undergo. It was strange talk, realm-breaking, and it's still so.
Yet other followers of his reported experiences of encounter after the empty tomb.
On the road to Emmaus, two disciples fell in with him. A stranger, they thought, though he was intriguingly well informed on all that had happened since the trial.
It was only when he broke bread with them that the penny dropped. Sceptical Thomas sought physical proof.
Earlier, on Calvary, even the Roman soldier proclaimed Him, dead on the Cross, as "the Son of God". And there was word of the dying thief's plea for divine compassion as he gasped his last...
A cast of characters: broken-hearted women, disoriented 'believers', sceptics, criminals, non-believers.
You and I could find our place among them and hear his words spoken between presence and absence: "This day you will be with me in paradise" - Easter hope spoken from the Cross.
Dr Noel Treanor
Bishop of Down and Connor