This passage has always struck me for one basic reason: once the stone had been rolled back, and Jesus had emerged triumphant over death, the stone was not rolled back where it had been. And Jesus never returned to the tomb.
Why is this reality so important for all of us? Because Risen life with Jesus means that we, also, never return to the tomb. We have left behind our sins, faults, failures, and mistakes. All of the evil we have done is left in the cold and damp tomb.
This emerging from our own tombs of sin and death presupposes that we have experienced the love, mercy, and forgiveness of our Risen Lord. And that we don't go back.
However, far too many disciples of Jesus insist on shoving others back into their tombs because these disciples don't know how to forgive and to forget. To roll back the stone means that once and for all we are liberated by Jesus through our sharing in his life and Paschal Mystery.
This is why, sadly, some people refuse to let the past go, to allow full healing and reconciliation to take place. Instead, as a person emerges from the tomb hoping for new life away from the tomb, they are dragged back into the tomb to suffer all over again. This type of response from us is totally contrary to the message of the Risen Lord Jesus.
If we are guilty of pushing family or friends back into dark tombs over and over again, this Easter is the time to break that dreadful habit. Just as we give thanks to God for our being raised up to new life with Jesus, and thereby departing from the tomb, we need to rejoice for each other as we share in this new life.
Our task is to make sure all our tombs are empty, and that they remain so. We should never have to ask over and over, "Who will roll back the stone for us?"
May the graces and light of Our Risen Lord Jesus free you and bless you!