In a recent interview on the life of faith and discipleship, Pope Francis shared an expression often used in Argentina – the expression is “primerea”. “…the Lord ‘primerea,’ anticipates us, waits for us; we sin and He is waiting to forgive us. He is waiting to welcome us, to give us His love, and each time faith grows.”
The Holy Father shared the expression in response to a question where he was asked about whether he ever felt betrayed by God. “Never,” responded Pope Francis. “I was the one who betrayed Him. At times I even felt like God was turning away from me, just as I turned away from Him. At very dark moments you ask yourself, ‘Where are you, God?’ I always believed that I was looking for God, but really it was He who was looking for me. He always gets there first and waits for us.”
The Lord “primerea”.
On Easter morning, Mary of Magdala comes to the tomb … it is empty. Peter and John run to the tomb and all they find are the burial cloths. The tomb is empty. It is empty because the Lord primerea!
A closed tomb is the opposite of primerea – there is no life, life is ended. All that the closed tomb offers is loss, sadness and pain. Life, on the other hand, by its very nature moves forward! It cannot remain stagnant nor be held back – the stone is rolled away and the tomb is emptied because the Lord primerea!
The Lord leaves the tomb in order to anticipate us, in order to show and be the living mercy that forgives us now and ever again on our journey. Even though this Easter Sunday we mark and proclaim in faith that greatest of events which occurred centuries ago when our Lord was bodily raised triumphant from the dead, the truth of the resurrection – and what it means for all time and creation – does not remain in the past. The truth of the resurrection is found in our today and in our tomorrow because this is where the risen Lord awaits us. The Lord primerea!
As Pope Francis remarked, “(The Lord) always gets there first and waits for us.”
Life calls us forward and Jesus is life itself! “Where is the resurrection?” some might ask. Others might demand that we point it out in order to prove it to them! I can say that it is not to be found in the history book nor in a museum. It is found right now and it resides in tomorrow. This is why on Easter Sunday we have this strange little reading about yeast. It is a strange reading really, and why – of all days – do we have it on Easter Sunday? You would think that there would be a reading proclaiming a blare of trumpets and choirs of angels singing. But, no, on our holiest day the Church has chosen this reading. Why?
Old yeast has no life, it produces nothing. It is like the enclosed tomb. But a little yeast that is true leavens all the dough – this little yeast brings life and it brings newness! And it does it truthfully and without the need for fanfare. Christ has been sacrificed and Christ has been raised!
True life does not need spectacle in order to prove itself. The resurrection does not need to prove itself to us nor does the one who is raised need to. Life reveals itself by being life. The resurrection is shown within the hearts that have been enlivened by it, by the hearts that encounter Christ today and move toward tomorrow in hope because the risen Lord awaits them there.
The tomb is empty! The Lord is risen!
The Lord primerea!