Tuesday Within Easter Octave, April 6
Acts 2:36-41 / 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 the college hostel. 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.
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.”
The first sentence still belongs to the sermon Peter gave on Pentecost Sunday (yesterday's reading). The rest of the reading shows what every preacher would like to experience: the good effect of a sermon. The people are shaken. Peter awakened in them the consciousness of sin. "You have killed him". In our days, consciousness of sin is becoming more and more rare, and with it the question they ask: What must we do? The question arises only when we are aware that not everything is all right. This insight is already the work of the Holy Spirit. Peter answers: Repent. He demands a conversion, a change of mind, the change of the direction in which we are going. The perfect sign of such a conversion is baptism. It is the forgiveness of sins and the beginning of t/le new life in which the gifts of the Spirit are given. With the Spirit a new power comes into our souls: love. The effect of the sermon: 3000 were added to the number, which had been 120 (see Act 1.15).
Mary wept. She wept when she saw the empty tomb and she wept when she saw Him. Through tears we never see clearly. They were tears of desire; they were tears of love. Her desire and love got the greatest reward. The human tears delayed it. She was not interested in angels. She wanted Jesus. Even when she stood before him, she did not recognise him, till he called her by name. Jesus knows the name of everyone. We mean a lot to him. She did not know anything else to say but "Master". Many words would have spoilt it. He is the master to whom she belongs. She cannot hold him as yet. Only faith can experience his presence. His humanity has been accepted by the Father. He is with him. That is where we find him. To find our way home to the Father is the paschal mystery.
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. Amen.