All of us know well that one of the first appearances of the Risen Christ was at his tomb. He appears to a woman who is weeping because she had found the stone rolled back from the entrance to the place where Jesus' body had been placed. Mary Magdalene is a very special woman in the life of Jesus and in the immediate days after his death. She is a model of what resurrection life is meant to be. She, so often associated with sinfulness, she is the torch of hope God uses to assure all of us that "he is risen" is a reality.
In her moments of distress, emptiness, disappointment and loss, Mary hears the one word that only one person could say "Mary." She knew it was the Jesus who had been so good to her, so helpful to her in her struggles with the challenges of life. Of course her immediate human reaction was to grab him, to hug him. A touching moment; the repair of so much damaged hope. But then words that seem at first to be so strange, so strong, so hurtful in the situation: "Stop holding me ...." What? Jesus you confuse me. This is not like you. Surely these were some of the thoughts that must have raced through Mary's mind and heart with the computer speed. Then Jesus continues: "... for I have not yet ascended to the Father." Oh, my Lord, you are the Messiah. You are the fulfillment of the David's heritage. You are the Son of God the Father!
But those few words were not enough. Mary was to become that shining torch, carrying THE message: "But go to my brothers and tell them 'I am going to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God." Imagine Mary's heart and mind. How many powerful emotions filled those few moments at the tomb site! How could a human heart endure so many experiences of hyper-reality? She leaves the burial site to return to her friends, the brothers of Jesus, to tell them the Resurrection news! Could her legs and feet endure the stress she must have demanded of them as she returned with the news of Salvation? Never before had two feet and two legs be charged with such a command: "Go ... and tell them."
Today is a surely an opportunity for each of us who can spend just a few moments with Mary in this one act play to experience for ourselves what genuine Resurrection joy and excitement is all about. And this is precisely what Jesus offers to each of us: "Go and tell my brothers and sisters [the Resurrection news]." Ours is to share our personal excitement, our meaningfully felt conviction that Jesus Christ is risen, that Jesus is truly our Lord and Savior ... all of this because we have been entrusted with the gifts of the Holy Spirit. That is why this Resurrection season is a time leading us to the culmination of Christ's giving to the world, to all who are blessed with the gift of baptism. It is the season of preparation for renewing in our hearts and lives the presence of the Holy Spirit.
3rd Day of Resurrection Season
3rd Day of Resurrection Season
Please note: Let the following be your time of reflection tomorrow, Wednesday, the 4th day of the the Resurrection Season. This afternoon and tomorrow I will be traveling to celebrate the funeral services for a long-time friend, the brother of a closest friend, who died after some years of suffering. For Jack Roache, those years were truly a passion that he endured with the Lord. In those years Jack came to know Jesus as his friend. When placed into an ambulance for the last time it was in the darkness of the night. As Jack and his sister were being driven to the hospital the interior of the emergency vehicle was so dark. Jack at first started asking "Where are you? Jesus, where are you. Didn't you call me?" His sister so gently reminded him that he was still with her in an ambulance that Jesus wasn't quite ready to bring him to his heavenly home. What an example of a man who knew Jesus was God but more importantly to him, Jesus was the God who was and always would be his friend." Please remember Jack's daughters, his siblings and their loved ones because they have given back to God a gift they held as so sacred as they have come to know that Jesus is truly the God who wants to be a special friends to each of us. Let us continue our journey of discovering what Jack learned in his years of illness. Let us make this Resurrection season a time when we deepen the love we have for our friend, Jesus the Christ, the Son of God and our God.