Daily Reflection
April 6th, 1999
Stephen T. Kline
Public Relations
Acts 2:36-41
John 20:11-18

" . . .  When they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and they asked Peter and other apostles, 'What are we to do, brothers?' "

--Acts 2:37

"Jesus said to her, 'Mary!' She turned and said to him in Hebrew, 'Rabboni,' which means Teacher."

--John 20:16

The moments when I recognize Jesus' presence in my life can be overwhelmingly joyful, like Mary's moment at the tomb, or they can be deeply painful.

Is anyone exempt from moments of painful recognition?  The residents of Jerusalem are cut to the heart by such a moment in today's reading.  I have moments like this when I recognize that I have made a wrong decision, one that hurts others.  Or when I begin to understand how I have contributed to a problem in my home, workplace or community.  It is the moment when I realize that for whatever reason, I am feeding into a conflict with my wife instead of looking for a solution.  It is the moment when I recognize that I am placing personality before principle.

It is the moment when I stop blaming other people, places or things for my troubles and I start to examine my own behavior.

It is the moment when I ask, "What am I to do?" (as opposed to "who might I blame for this?") The answer, of course, is that I must place myself before God in prayer and once again to accept the loving guidance and friendship of Jesus. It isn't always easy.  Despair can blind me, making it difficult for me to see Jesus alive and working in my life.

People who know the ripping pain of grief for a lost loved one will understand Mary's disorientation in today's reading from John.

Death, especially death that is violent and sudden, frightens us so much that we literally do not recognize our own surroundings.  A friend of mine recently lost her husband, who dropped dead of a heart attack while shoveling snow.  As I prayed for her, I was reminded of the terrifying hours and days after my own wife and father died years ago.

In the middle of that dark time, I felt brief moments of peace and consolation.  I was puzzled and disturbed by this.  Looking back, I understand that those moments were times when Jesus was near and calling my name.  Like Mary, I at first was not able to see Him because I was so absorbed in my own grief.

But He calls our names and, like nighttime lightning, His bright presence transforms the landscape.  What was dark and scary and painful is washed away in the brilliant light of God's love for each one of us.

The joyful message of Easter?

Every name is called.

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