ON THE FIRST DAY of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, "Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here: He has risen!" (Luke 24:1-6).
IMAGINE what the women must have felt as they heard the best news the world. This news was given to the women who were followers of Jesus.
In so many of the gospel stories that are familiar to us, women were behind the scenes -- always there, always present, always faithful -- but always behind the scenes and never mentioned by the men who were the principal actors. On that first Easter morning, the women were present at great risk to themselves. They were at the grave of a convicted political criminal who had just been crucified. Guards were posted at the tomb who could easily report the identities of any followers or supporters of this one whom they had killed and whose movement they now hoped to crush.
The risk of the women is made even more dramatic by the realization that the rest of the disciples were all laying low. The men were hiding, paralyzed by grief and fear.
I think of the women at the tomb when I think of the Mothers of the Disappeared in Latin America, who in country after country were the ones who -- when things were at their worst, when the violence of military-ruled countries was most grotesque, when the suffering was so horrible -- came out time and time again and stood alone before the military and before the world, testifying for their loved ones, and for the truth.