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Lenten Devotional, Mark 16:8 by Mark Weathers

Good morning!  Our Lenten Devotional for today was written by Mark Weathers.  For those of you who might not yet know Mark, he is currently a graduate student at Brite Divinity School.  In addition to that, he works with Father Charlie Calabrese and assists in leading our Catholic Community campus ministry.  Over the course of this past year I have enjoyed getting to know Mark and seeing the great work he has done in working with students.  On more than one occasion I have heard a student talk about how supportive he is, how he invites them to be more contemplative in their own lives, and how much they enjoy his sense of humor.  I hope you will be challenged and inspired by his words for you today as you continue your journey through this season of Lent.
March 11, 2014                                By: Mark Weathers
“Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.” Mark 16:8
When I think of Easter, I think of an intimate circle of family and friends holding dark red, hard-boiled eggs.
It is a Greek tradition to take one of these eggs, turn to the person next to you in the circle and say “Χριστός ἀνέστη!”—“Christ is risen!” The person addressed responds “”Ἀληθῶς ἀνέστη! ” – “Truly He is Risen!” You then knock your eggs together, and the person with the unbroken egg continues with the Easter proclamation, around the circle, repeating the declaration of Christ’s still wounded but walking body, until only one unbroken egg is left. The one egg a symbol of life still present, tested, and yet whole.
Then you pray before the Easter meal.
I never close my eyes during this prayer. I always look into the empty space in the circle, the “O” shaped floor, and call to mind a series of images. I think of Easter my 6th grade year, when Uncle Mike was not standing with us. He had wanted to live for his last Easter, but AIDS had taken him quickly and with pressing ferocity. I did not go visit him in the last weeks of his death. I was too upset to witness what the virus had left of his body and mind, withered by pneumonia; dementia spreading thick cobwebs through his words and memories. I remember looking at him weeks before, while he was sleeping, his breath whistling in his nose, his mouth hung agape in a way that haunted me. I had been told this was the last expression we would all wear.
Around that Easter circle, staring into the empty floor space, I think about that.
I think about some women, wide eyed and sprinting at dawn, terrified that they did not find a battered corpse, but a young herald in white with a bizarre story. Where is the body of their friend, and how could it be that he is waiting for his students? I think about how far their message spread. How long did it take for their frantic footsteps to take over a city, a nation, an Empire, and the continent? How long before those women’s exasperated words would cross an ocean, then two, then three and then four?
How long till they come panting with their harried, incredible news, past a yawning custodian and the pacing nursing staff, to a room where a once healthy man hangs on the verge, to give him their report?
And then his mouth, sleeping and wide as the chiseled “O” entry of an abandoned crypt, is jolted into motion and responds “Truly Risen.”
I gaze into the center of the praying circle and think about these things.


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