Acts 2:36-43 / John 20:11-18
Jesus speaks to Mary of Magdala: “Stop holding on to me. ”
A mother had just returned from driving her only son to college. She walked into his empty room, clutching a note he had written her. She began to cry uncontrollably, realizing that his new world at college would never be her world—their world. Finally, after a long cry, she let go of the note and let it fall to the floor. In the months ahead, after the pain of separation had worn off, the mother discovered something remarkable. By “letting go” of her son, she found that they could love each other in a whole new way—an adult way that was far more fulfilling than the earlier mother-child relationship. Mary of Magdala (Magdalene) discovered the same thing after she let go of the earthly Jesus and began relating to the risen Jesus.
Are we holding on to something that we should let go of? What I keep I lose; what I give away is mine forever.
The gospel began with Mary staying outside the tomb weeping. The gospel ends with Mary of Magdala going forth to tell the disciples that she had seen the Lord. In between, something very personal, something very intimate, happened to Mary. She heard the Risen Lord call her by her name, and she responded in Hebrew, her mother tongue, a language that was most intimate to her. Before that, she was a broken person - weeping, grieving and lost. But the experience of the Risen Lord gave her back her identity and a mission; she was Mary of Magdala and she had seen the Lord.
Similarly, the Peter who spoke on the day of Pentecost was a different person from the one who denied Jesus three times and wept. Something happens when people experience the Risen Lord. They regain their identity and find a new purpose and mission in life. So when we feel that life has come to a standstill, our dreams are broken, and we have more fears than hopes, the Risen Lord comes to us. He calls out to us just as He called Mary. Mary responded with her heart. We can't be always standing outside the tomb of emptiness or the tombs of pleasure, wealth and power and sin. The Risen Lord calls us by our names. Let us respond with our hearts so that our lives can have a meaning and a mission.
Octave of Easter Tuesday
RECOGNIZING THE RISEN LORD
It is not always easy to recognize the risen Lord. This was the experience of Mary Magdalene. We too, are asked, “Whom are you seeking?” Are we really seeking the Lord Jesus? Do we recognize him not only in our prayers and during the reception of the Holy Eucharist, but also when he walks by our side in our sufferings and in our joys, in the people around us, and in the ordinary events and circumstances of life? Jesus is indeed our Lord and Messiah. Mary Magdalene recognized him when she heard his voice. Are we really in love with him and attuned to his Good News that we can say when hearing him: “It is you, Lord, speaking to me.”
- You, Lord, loves justice and right; LHM
- You, Lord, preserve us in spite of famine, CHM
- Your eyes, LORD, are upon those who fear you, LHM
Our God of life, we profess our faith in Jesus and recognize him as our Lord and Savior. Make us listen to him, when he speaks his Good News to us, for it is a message of life. May we also hear his voice, when he cries out to us in people in need or simply when he speaks to us through the people who express to us their joys and hopes, their love and their faith. We ask this through Christ, our Lord.
The Johannine account of Mary Magdalene’s initial encounter with the risen Christ provides considerable food for thought. Her fidelity to the Lord through his passion and death is legendary. Now standing by the empty tomb, she is addressed by the two angels within. Asked why she is weeping; she replies that she does not know what has become of Jesus’ body. It is at this point that Christ addresses her directly. Not recognizing him and believing that he is the gardener, she again expresses her grief at the loss of Christ’s body. Recognition comes with a single word: “Mary.” She immediately addresses him as “Rabbani” or Teacher. In the Gospel of John, the resurrection, ascension, and Pentecost are united. Christ tells Mary not to detain him, since he is ascending to his Father and will return on that same Sunday evening to confer the Spirit on the apostles. His journey is not interrupted. Mary then becomes the first witness to the resurrection. This woman from Jesus’ earthly company carries this central mystery to the apostles. In our times, when Mary is seen as an important woman of the Gospels, we see her today as the first ambassador of the risen Christ. There are two points that come quickly to mind. One is the expanding role of women in the church. This is an encouraging development. This is true not only of teaching, catechetic, and human outreach but in worship as well. We can only be grateful and supportive of the contribution women do and can make to church life. The second point is the force of the name. Our name is singularly our own. We are recognized by it, and we claim it unfailingly. To remember a person’s name does him or her honor. That name is to be reverenced and honored. Its proper use is an unmatched sign of respect.
Points to Ponder
Mary’s grief Name recognition
The ascent of Jesus
Women in the church.
– Lord, do not remain a stranger to us. Make the Church see your image, even in sinners, so that they will be raised up to a new life, we pray:
– Lord, do not remain a stranger to us. Make us see you and lift you up in the beggars in the streets and the fugitives from oppression, we pray:
– Lord, do not remain a stranger to us. Make us console you in those who weep and mourn, we pray:
Prayer over the Gifts
Lord, our God, in these signs of bread and wine, we seek the Lord Jesus, for we want to find him and to become near to him in our life of every day. Let him become close to us and raise us above the banality of everyday life. Let him make our life rich and beautiful in goodness and deep faith, for he is our Risen Lord, now and forever.
Prayer after Communion
Lord God, bring to perfection in us what you have let Jesus begin in us. Let him show us what we have to do, let him keep converting us to his ways of patient service and deep love. Let him nourish his new life in us, when in the Eucharist, he sits at table with us, his disciples today. Grant us all this through Christ, our Lord.
“Do not hold on to me,” says Jesus. Do not try to possess him for ourselves alone. Let us go to our brothers and sisters and share Jesus with them as the Lord of life who raises us above ourselves by making us with him people-for-others. May almighty God bless you, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.