Tuesday in the Octave of Easter, April 23
May Each of Us Find in the Risen Christ Our True Consolation – a Hope Which Never Quits, a Joy Which Never Ends, and a Faith Which Never Falls Short.
“Mary Magdalene stayed outside the tomb weeping” – words which we find in the beginning of today’s Gospel.
Grief – a strong and sometimes overwhelming emotion for people, regardless of whether our sadness stems from the loss of a loved one, the end of a meaningful relationship, or from a terminal diagnosis we or someone we know and love have received.
For some, an overwhelming sense of grief can even result in one feeling numb and removed from the reality of daily life. And such grief can even affect how we think and act in our daily routines.
In today’s Gospel Reading from Saint John, we are once again at the opening to the empty tomb, and we see Mary Magdalene who is beset with this sort of grief. She held such a deep love for Jesus, much like a close sister for a loving brother or a daughter for a loving father. And when she finds that our Lord’s Body is missing, she is beside herself and cannot understand why anyone would want to take His Body away.
When Jesus appears to her, her sorrow does not even allow her to recognize Him, for she supposes He is the gardener, “Sir, if you carried him away, tell me where you laid him, and I will take him.”
In our lifetime, we will probably experience considerable grief more than once – the death and burial of our parents and grandparents, maybe the loss of a spouse or, sadly, the seemingly untimely death of a child.
Death of a loved one is never easy to accept. It oftentimes feels like a ripping-away of a part of our heart. A part of us seems to die right along with the passing of our loved one.
And for those of us who have experienced this kind of loss, we can empathize with Mary, for we can somewhat feel what she was feeling at that moment – for, remember, she stood at the foot of the Cross and watched her Beloved Lord die a most horrific and agonizing death.
But now, she is faced with a new heartache – His Body is missing!
Many years ago, I became a widower when I lost my wife due to the rupturing of a massive brain aneurysm. I cannot even imagine what I would have felt if someone had taken her body from the grave. Now, place yourselves in Mary’s shoes and try to understand what was going through the very depths of her heart and soul when she discovered the empty tomb.
Jesus could no longer allow her to suffer in this way. He opened her eyes to His Loving Presence. One can only imagine the peace and loving consolation which must have filled her entire being. For now, her grief turned to overwhelming joy and happiness!
And this is what our Lord desires to give to each one of us in our times of sorrow. Grief and sorrow must first be experienced, in order that God’s consoling Love may take effect in our hearts and souls, so that the process of healing may begin.
This is true not only when we are separated from a loved one due to a physical death, but also when we experience separation from God due to a spiritual death, which sin accomplishes within us.
Spiritual death is just as real, and even much more deadly – for its effects are eternal. We slowly recover from the death of a loved one. But unless we recognize our sinful nature and seek God’s Mercy, we run the risk of never recovering spiritually, never enjoying the loving embrace of Almighty God for all eternity.
It is when both men and women in today’s society begin to rationalize their sins into normal behavior, when acts which are intrinsically evil are embraced as acceptable conduct, such as abortion, adultery, fornication and homosexual behavior, that we are no longer able to recognize the sickening disease which consumes our souls – a form of spiritual blindness in which God’s will is no longer ours, in which our brand of truth perverts Divine Truth.
And spiritual blindness is what afflicted many of the Jewish authorities and those they perverted with their hatred against the innocent Lamb of God, all who cried out “Crucify him, crucify him!”
It was for their benefit that we hear Peter addressing them in our First Reading today from the Acts of the Apostles, “Let the whole house of Israel know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”
And when they heard this, Saint Luke tells us in our First Reading, “…they were cut to the heart.” When they asked, “What are we to do my brothers?” Peter responded, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of your sins.”
In the sorrow of their hearts, in the grief they were feeling, knowing that they had put to death their Lord and Messiah, Peter offers God’s Mercy.
Peter’s testimony, emboldened by the actions of the Holy Spirit who had come upon him and the other Apostles, led to the beginnings of Christ’s Church, for Luke tells us that “…about three thousand persons were added that day.”
The words of our psalmist today also speak to us of God’s consoling Love, a Love which reaches out and strengthens us, especially during those times in our life when we are in most need of feeling His consolation, solace and support, “May your kindness, O LORD, be upon us who have put our hope in you.”
In today’s Gospel according to John, the meeting between the Risen Christ and Mary Magdalene is slightly different from yesterday’s Reading from Matthew, but the basic fact remains the same – that Jesus is risen from the dead, and that He will not leave us to face the burdens of this life alone!
And even some two thousand years after His Resurrection, our Lord still walks with us, supporting us, strengthening us, helping us to bear our sorrows and our crosses in life – just as He did for Mary Magdalene so long ago.
May both you and I hear our Lord call out our name, just as He did Mary’s – lifting up each of us, so that our delight may be in knowing that our God is always at our side, walking with us on each step of life’s journey which you and I take on this side of Heaven.
May each of us find in the Risen Christ our true consolation.
And may we find in the Risen Christ a hope which never quits, a joy which never ends, and a faith which never falls short! †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- “Mary stayed outside the tomb weeping…Jesus said to her, ‘Mary!’ She turned and said to him in Hebrew, ‘Rabbouni…’” (John 20:11a, 16)
- “‘Therefore let the whole house of Israel know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Messiah, 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?’” (Acts 2:36-37)
- “Peter said to them, ‘Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.’” (Acts 2:38a)
- “May your mercy, LORD, be upon us; as we put our hope in you.” (Psalm 33:22)
- “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in his great mercy gave us a new birth to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you.” (1 Peter 1:3-4)
- “Cast your care upon the LORD, who will give you support. He will never allow the righteous to stumble.” (Psalm 55:23)
- “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff comfort me.” (Psalm 23:4)
- “May the eyes of your hearts be enlightened, that you may know what is the hope that belongs to his call, what are the riches of glory in his inheritance among the holy ones, and what is the surpassing greatness of his power for us who believe, in accord with the exercise of his great might.” (Ephesians 1:18-19)
- “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.” (John 14:27)
Prayer for the Day
“O Lord, we ask for a boundless confidence
and trust in Your Divine Mercy,
and the courage to accept the crosses and sufferings
which bring immense goodness
to our souls and that of Your Church.
“Help us to love You with a pure and contrite heart,
and to humble ourselves beneath Your Cross,
as we climb the mountain of holiness,
carrying our cross that leads to Heavenly glory.
“May we receive You with great faith
and love in Holy Communion,
and allow You to act in us,
as You desire, for Your greater glory.
“O Jesus, Most Adorable Heart
and Eternal Fountain of Divine Love,
may our prayer find favor before the Divine Majesty
of Your Heavenly Father. Amen.”Saint Padre Pio