Octave of Easter
1st Reading: Acts 2:36-41
On the day of Pentecost, Peter said to the Jewish people, “Let the whole house of Israel know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and they asked Peter and the other Apostles, “What are we to do, my brothers?” Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is made to you and to your children and to all those far off, whomever the Lord our God will call.” He testified with many other arguments, and was exhorting them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand persons were added that day.
Gospel: Jn 20:11-18
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.” 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. Jesus said to her, “Stop holding on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am going to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Mary went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord,” and then reported what he had told her.
I HAVE SEEN THE LORD: We are affected emotionally when we lose a close friend. This is what we see with Mary Magdalene, at the tomb weeping the loss of her close friend Jesus. At that very moment, the Angels talk to her giving her the Good News of the resurrection. After recognizing Jesus, all her tears are wiped and joy fills her. She immediately runs to proclaim the Risen Christ to the disciples, as ordered by Her Master. From sorrow, to joy and finally to evangelization. This is our journey as Christians. Peter moved also from sorrow (when Jesus was arrested), to joy (when he heard of the resurrection), to evangelization (1st reading today). We are called to move from the life sorrows that shroud us, to the joy of being in the company of believers, and to go out and proclaim the Good News, throug our deed and words.
Prayer: Lord, I put all my trust in you.
CUT TO THE HEART: The news that God has made Jesus, whom they crucified, Lord and Christ cuts the hearers to the heart. It awakens in them the desire for a new start: “What shall we do, brothers?” A change of mind (metanoia) is a necessary condition for one to be disposed to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This happens in the name of the Christ. It is the initiative of the Risen Lord to make himself known to those who are searching for him. Mary of Magdala represents all those who have not given up the search. The risen Lord brings an end to the tears of a searcher. Resurrection restores relationships. Christ gives his disciples, even if they had abandoned him, the chance to be called brothers again. There is need for messengers to carry this news to the many disappointed brothers and sisters.
THEY HAVE TAKEN MY LORD: There are times in our lives when we feel God is far away. Jesus is absent. We have had beautiful, elating experiences of God, and suddenly he is not there. It is empty, dark, and arid. This was perhaps the experience of Mary Magdalene as she peeped into the empty tomb, and kept weeping. She had seen him last in the tomb, and he is not there now. “They have taken my Lord, and I don’t know where they laid him.” The experience of absent-Jesus could happen because we keep seeking him where we experienced him last. When the women went to the tomb, they were told: “Why seek the living among the dead” (Lk 24:5). He is risen, he has moved on. He wants us to move on too. Eventually, Mary Magdalene is willing to move on. She has a unitive experience of Jesus. What about us?