Magdalene’s Easter Egg
Homily for Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of the Lord
Preached on March 27, 2016 at Jesus Our Savior Catholic Church, Morehead KY
Readings: Acts 10:34a, 37-43; Psalm 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23; Colossians 3:1-4; John 20:1-9
In the Churches of the East, Mary Magdalene is often portrayed holding up an egg, presenting it to the viewer as though she had just unearthed it at an Easter Egg Hunt. This seems strange to us, especially when we consider that there is hardly a record of an Easter Egg Hunt in any of the Gospels. What we do not realize is that the egg is actually an ancient Christian symbol of the Resurrection of our Lord.
An egg is solid and polished on the outside, but inside there is a surprise: a new life. The tomb of Jesus was also solid and polished on the outside, but once He broke out of it, Jesus brought to the world the best Easter surprise: new and everlasting life.
It does not look like it, but Mary Magdalene apparently started the first Easter Egg Hunt in history. She was the first one to find the Lord’s empty tomb, but it took her a while to uncover the surprise of the Resurrection (cf. Jn. 20:1, 18). She ran to the disciples to tell them all about it (cf. Jn. 20:2). Simon Peter rushed to the tomb and went snooping around, but he only found the shells of the broken Easter egg: the Lord’s burial cloths neatly set aside (cf. Jn. 20:3, 6-7). The disciple whom Jesus loved saw the same thing, and he alone believed that there was something more there than meets the eye (cf. Jn. 20:5, 8).
At our Baptism, each of us received an Easter egg—not an actual one like those that our kids will go out hunting for today—but a spiritual gift from above that has a big surprise inside. Today, as he is baptized, Anthony Emil Caudill receives that same Easter egg. It is the gift of Faith in the Resurrection. But, he has to unwrap this gift and break open this egg to discover and enjoy the surprise that is hidden within. The only way that he or any of us can do that is by practicing our Catholic Faith. Our Faith is like a Russian nesting Easter egg: the more we get into it, the more we delve deeper, the more we find something in it that we do not realize is even there. But, unlike a Russian nesting Easter egg, the surprises that the Lord has hidden within our Faith do not get smaller; they get bigger and greater the more we dig deeper.
On this Easter morning, Anthony Emil’s parents and godparents will pledge to help him continue breaking open the Easter egg of his Faith in the Resurrection as he gets older. We too, as we renew our baptismal promises today, make the pledge to dig deeper into our Catholic Faith because, as Mary Magdalene would point out, that is the only way that we can ever uncover all the untold and unending joys that the Risen Christ has in store.