Image: The Sea of Galilee (photo by

‘Failure redressed’

Andrew Collis
Easter Vigil, Year B
Romans 6:3-11; Mark 16:1-8

Back in chapter 14 of Mark’s gospel, an account of the arrest of Jesus in Gethsemane, we read: “Following Jesus was a youth wearing nothing but a linen cloth, whom [the authorities] also tried to arrest but who fled naked, leaving the cloth behind.” 

Here, in the empty tomb (chapter 16), the figure of the “young person” appears again … dressed in a white robe.

These are intriguing references. The “young person” in the empty tomb tells the women disciples to share the news: “Jesus is going ahead of you to Galilee, where you will see him just as he told you.”

The youth proclaims the Easter message. The women – typically astute and reliable, faithful – are looking in the wrong place. They are looking for the crucified Jesus of Nazareth.

Mark’s gospel is artfully composed. 

The Twelve seem rarely to understand. Judas and Peter betray and deny Jesus. We read: “All the disciples deserted Jesus and fled” (14:50). 

Throughout, much is made of what scholars call the “messianic secret” – the dangerous and mysterious identity and vocation of Jesus as the Christ.

So, the return to Galilee (back to the place where it all began) invites more than a repetition. It invites redress – some kind of relief, even reparation … reforming of faith … failure overcome.

The risen Jesus is going before them to Galilee. They will see him there …

This is not a rerun of the same story but an opportunity for new experiences of discipleship, love, life …

We have re-entered the church and the Easter Candle is shining.

May we be open, then, to new experiences of discipleship, love, life … collaboration, friendship … wisdom and faith on Gadigal land …

Our return to this place – mindful of the need to move offsite for a while in coming months – invites more than a repetition of faith journeys past. More than a repetition of European faith journeys. Other than a repetition of modern, colonial Christianity.

It invites redress – some kind of relief, even reparation … reforming of our faith … our failure overcome. “Alive to God in Christ Jesus.” Amen.