I was struck by the description of the angel who rolled the stone back from the entrance to Christ’s tomb and then sat on it, announcing the resurrection: “He is not here.”
I confess, I don’t usually think of angels a lot, not since I was a youngster in Catholic grade school when Sister told us that our guardian angel was beside us. But this account suddenly intrigued me. I thought of this particular angel’s unique role in our salvation story. Who and how did this creature of light get this “job”? Was there a lottery in heaven among all the angels? I am kidding, of course. Amidst the many words of the gospel accounts, this messenger who is a pure spirit humbly obedient to God’s will, goes pretty much unnoticed as the Easter story quickly unfolds. This angel is like a still point in all the excitement of the disciples’ discovery of the empty tomb, and the running to and from the tomb that morning, as the women delivered the news to the apostles and then Peter and John came “in haste” to see for themselves. In the midst of it all, this un assuming angel sits on the stone, and simply states the amazing words “He has risen.”
Unlike the angels Gabriel, Raphael and Michael, we do not even know the name of this herald of the resurrection. What an example for us of self-effacing, obedient service to God, of humility in deference to Christ and a beacon of light on behalf of the gospel that God devised in order to save humanity who was made “less than the angels” as scripture says.
Like a model of ministry, everything points to Jesus not to self-service. This pure spirit is like a hollow flute through which the breath of God’s Spirit creates such beautiful, joyful music for the ears of a broken, lost humanity. We should have the grace to be so hollow and selfless so that God can make music through us! This puts me in mind of all the wonderful ministers of the gospel that Dismas Ministry is honored and graced to work with in our network of over 800 sisters, priests, deacons and lay people. They are working quietly and selflessly to bring the good news to the members of Christ’s body in prison. Please join me, the staff, and volunteers of Dismas Ministry in praying for them and offering thanks to God for them. They are angels of hope to the broken and lost.