The Empty Tomb

July 26, 2023
Archdiocese of Baltimore

A priest friend once said to me, “Death is the fate that all men share.” Growing up and visiting churches with visible cemeteries you get used to seeing the tomb stones knowing that the person’s bones are several feet beneath the surface of the ground. It wasn’t until my deacon year of seminary that I had the opportunity to visit the tomb that Jesus’s body rested in for three days.

The only significant difference being His body was not there!

My deacon class spent several days in the city of Jerusalem back in January of 2023 and thanks be to God, I was given the opportunity to stay overnight in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher where Golgotha and the empty tomb are both located. After being locked inside the church at 7pm with several classmates, the rector of our seminary, and a few other Christians, our nine hours of prayer, rest and reflection began. I decided to pray a combination of rosaries and divine mercy chaplets for different people each hour of the night, spending as much time as possible at Golgotha and the empty tomb.

At the beginning of the first hour, one of the workers had to fill the candles in the tomb with more oil. During that time as we waited outside the tomb, I couldn’t help but think of Peter, John and Mary Magdelene as they approached the Lord’s tomb, waiting to see inside. Reading and reflecting upon those scripture passages was a great blessing- already enkindling and stirring up the flames of faith in my heart.

As the worker finished filling up the candles, my friend and I rushed into the tomb to start praying. The tomb is designed in such a way that there is a larger outer chamber connected to the smaller inner chamber where Jesus’s body was laid for three days. Thankfully, we were able to pray in both chambers with other Christians for an entire hour.

While reflecting upon such a glorious mystery of our faith, it became much more apparent to me that yes, Jesus did share in a death like ours, but because of his resurrection and Dcn. Luke Koski our baptism into his death, we are now able to share in His resurrection. A resurrection of life, joy, happiness, peace, and love. Death no longer has the last word over our mortal bodies. Sin and its effects no longer rule over the baptized that are in a state of grace. Darkness has lost.

Light has won. Jesus is alive! Death could not contain Him!

Kneeling next to my priest friend, looking at the empty slab of stone, and praying to Jesus who now lives forever, never to die again – my heart was certainly burning! What incomprehensible love our Lord has for us to suffer a death He did not deserve, to then rise and leave us the proof that His love is stronger than death. For the remainder of that night, I felt such an overwhelming sense of peace and joy. Despite being extremely tired and fairly cold, the fire of Christ’s love was propelling me forward into whatever difficulty I might face.

Father Luke Koski, after graduating this year from Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, was
ordained a priest of Jesus Christ on June 24, 2023. He will serve as an Associate Pastor at the
Pastorate of Christ the King, Glen Burnie and St. Bernadette, Severn and also as Chaplain to
Archbishop Spalding High School. Please pray for Fr. Luke