Daily Reflection
April 22nd, 2003
Kathy Kanavy
Institute for Priestly Formation
Click here for a photo of and information on this writer.
Tuesday in the Octave of Easter
Acts 2:36-41
Psalm 33:4-5, 18-19, 20, 22
John 20:11-18

Today’s Gospel reading retells the beautiful, tender account of Mary Magdalene’s encounter with Jesus.  One can imagine the warmth of the scene:

Mary Magdalene stayed outside the tomb weeping.
And as she wept, she bent over into the tomb and saw two angels in white sitting there,
one at the head and one at the feet where the Body of Jesus had been.
And they said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?"
She said to them, "They have taken my Lord, and I don't know where they laid him."

Her words reveal her heart filled with love for Jesus, stirred with grief, confusion and anguish.  And Jesus comes to her:

When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus there,
but did not know it was Jesus.
Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?
Whom are you looking for?"
She thought it was the gardener and said to him,
"Sir, if you carried him away, tell me where you laid him, and I will take him."
Jesus said to her, "Mary!"
She turned and said to him in Hebrew, "Rabbouni," which means Teacher.

This beautiful encounter reveals Jesus’ heart with you and me.  Jesus desires to touch the places of grief in each of our hearts.  We all can carry sadness, loss, pain, suffering, fear and anxiousness—some which he readily know and some which we can hardly admit to ourselves.  But Jesus knows the depth of our grief.  Although everything in our culture says we should just be strong, deal with it, and move on, the truth is that our hearts ache.  As you listen to your heart, what grief do you carry today—for yourself, your family, those you love, those you work with, our Church, our world torn by war and terrorism?  What also are the burdens that you carry as you feel inner responsibility, or insecurity, or inadequacy, or guilt in these sorrows of your heart?  Can you let Jesus come to you here in these sorrows? 

The Scriptures of this Easter season are filled with assurances of Jesus’ desire to touch our sorrows.  “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth.  The former heaven and the former earth had passed away….’Behold, God’s dwelling is with the human race…He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain, for the old order has passed away.”  (Revelation 21:1-4)
“Jerusalem, take off your robe of mourning and misery; put on the splendor of glory from God forever: …For God is leading Israel in joy by the light of his glory….(Baruch 5: 1,9)

These passages, of course, speak of the end times when the fullness of the Kingdom of God will be.  However, they speak of today also.  Because of Jesus’ love in dying for us, he has dispelled the power of death, hopelessness, and despair.  In the encounter with Mary Magdalene, her tears change when she realizes that He is present.  This profound spiritual truth lies in our hearts.  Whatever grief you or I carry in our hearts today will be changed as we release this grief to Jesus on the cross so that He can bring about new life.  Here we “taste” His comfort, the assurance of His presence, His encouragement, His love.  Once we know that He is with us, our deepest pain of feeling alone is transformed. 

 As we ponder this encounter today, I invite you and myself to permit Jesus to ask us, “Why are you weeping?”  May we let Him come into our sorrows and release them all into His burning heart of love.

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