By: Anita Van der Aa
Praise the Risen Christ! With grateful hearts we lift up to you Jesus, a song of thanksgiving and praise echoing the words of St. Paul: “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”. Thank you, Lord, for the abundant life you share with each of us. Help me to accept this grace as I seek to follow you and your Will for me today and always. Jesus is Risen! He has risen indeed! Alleluia!
Gospel Reading: John 20:1-18
Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went toward the tomb. The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. Then the disciples returned to their homes.
But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; and she told them that he had said these things to her.
Poor Mary! It’s no wonder that she didn’t recognize Jesus in the garden. The last few days have been very intense for her. She followed Jesus along His final Passion, was present at the cross when He breathed his last. She saw the stone rolled in front of the tomb and then found the tomb empty. She was so engrossed with her own pain, confusion and sense of loss that when she came upon a man in the garden, she assumed that he was the gardener. Oh how her heart must have burst when she recognized Jesus as He called her by name.
Thinking about this, I wonder how foolish I must look to God when I stumble around in my own pain and misery, crying out in complaint: “Where are you God?”, when all the while He is right there by my side. It is usually only when I stop and listen, and recognize all of the good in my life with a thankful heart, that I am able to recognize Him… that I am able to hear His voice. The more I do this, the less I stumble in the darkness – the more my faith grows. And as my trust in Him becomes steadfast, I am able to recognize Him through the people and situations I encounter as well as through His glorious creation.
The Easter season has just begun! I invite you to pray for the grace to recognize Jesus as He reveals Himself to you in unexpected ways – especially in times of struggle. Take a moment and listen as He calls you by name.
- In what way can you relate to Mary? Is it difficult for you to recognize the Risen Lord during times of suffering?
- What are you thankful for today? How have you been blessed?
- How can you actively seek out the Risen Lord during this Easter Season?
- How can you share the joy of Easter with those around you?
Hymn: Morning Has Broken (Eleanor Farjeon)
Morning has broken like the first morning,
Blackbird has spoken like the first bird.
Praise for the singing! Praise for the morning!
Praise for them, springing fresh from the Word!
Sweet the rain’s new fall sunlit from heaven,
like the first dewfall on first grass.
Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden,
Sprung in completeness where his feet pass.
Mine is the sunlight! Mine is the morning
Born of the one light Eden saw play!
Praise with elation, praise every morning,
God’s recreation of the new day!
(in case you want to listen to it https://youtu.be/e0TInLOJuUM)