Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta

Easter story has special meaning for broken-hearted people

By LORRAINE V. MURRAY, Commentary | Published March 22, 2024

Every Easter there are pots of sweet lilies crowding church altars, little girls in frothy dresses, boys in bow ties and alleluias ringing out for the first time since Lent began. 

At Mass, we will hear the story about Mary Magdalene rushing into the garden and discovering the empty tomb. The emptiness of the tomb will blot out the bloody and brutal images of Good Friday.  

The story, however, may strike us differently each year, depending on the circumstances of our lives. Some people are traipsing along a relatively smooth, happy path, and see suffering and death as distant events having little to do with them. 

Others are stumbling down a rocky, tear-drenched road and will see through a different lens. The man whose wife just left him, the young mother grieving over a miscarriage, the couple who lost their son to cancer. The slow, halting walk of Jesus toward Golgotha hits these heartbroken people personally, since they’re enduring their own version of the crucifixion. 

Christians learn from a tender age that following Christ isn’t an easy, sunny journey decked out with frilly flowers and melodious birds. Yes, there are moments of true joy that come from serving our neighbors and knowing the Lord’s tender presence in our lives, but the way of Christ ultimately is through thorns and over treacherous terrain.  

After all, he was indeed a man of sorrows, whose last moments on earth were nightmarish and whose message clashed with the world’s deeply ingrained beliefs. He said the rich and powerful would walk away empty-handed, while the meek, the mourners, the despised and the lowly would be blessed. 

Someone unfamiliar with Christianity might wonder why we follow a man whose life apparently ended in failure and disgrace. A man who preached poverty, simplicity, purity and obedience, which are traits that society mocks. 

Easter provides the answer to the puzzle because on this day, the tragedy of Christ’s death turns into the incredible joy of the Resurrection—and provides a preview of what awaits us when we die.  

Fulton Sheen wrote, “Unless there is a Good Friday in my life, there will never be an Easter Sunday…unless there is the crown of thorns there will never be the glorified body…unless there is the Cross, there will never be the empty tomb.” 

Our crosses may seem unbearable at times, but Christianity proclaims God’s love for us is so intense that he entered our world and experienced our heartbreak, rather than remaining distant and aloof. Gerald Vann wrote: “In the universality of his love and his pity, Christ shared the sorrow and pain of every human being…he knew in his own heart every cry of pain and agony that had ever risen…from the valley of human tears.”  

On that day in the garden long ago, Christ asked Mary Magdalene “Why are you weeping?” because he hated to see her suffering. Mistaking him for the gardener, she told him she was looking for the Lord’s body. When she heard him call her name, she realized Jesus was right there with her.   

Are you weeping because you feel abandoned, frightened and alone? So did he in the Garden of Gethsemane when his friends fell asleep. Are you sad because you’ve been wounded by someone dear to you? So was he, when one friend gave him a treacherous kiss and another denied knowing him. 

Easter reminds us that Christ’s story had another chapter beyond the crucifixion and beyond the grave—and if we remain faithful to God, so will ours. 

Let’s pray our story will continue in a kingdom without heartbreak, cancer, poverty and loss. There, every cross will turn into a crown, every rose will be thornless, every baby will live and every tear will be wiped away.  

There, the alleluias will ring out forever and we will walk into a garden and meet Jesus, who will gently call our names. Then, with Mary Magdalene we can proclaim: “I have seen the Lord!”  

Artwork is by Lorraine’s late husband, Jef Murray. Her email address is