Their story seemed like nonsense and they did not believe them (Lk. 24:11)

by | Mar 30, 2013 | Reflections

Cross and BibleEaster Sunday (C), March 31, 2013 – Acts 10:34a, 37-43; Col. 3:1-4; Jn. 20:1-9

Mary of Magdala cannot wait till she visits the tomb. The day of rest done, she goes there early in the morning.  She sees that it is open.  Puzzled, she hurries to report it to Peter and the beloved disciple.

The report worries them.  They run together to the tomb, which they find empty.

The burial cloths and the rolled-up cloth that covered Jesus’ head do not indicate robbery.  We sometimes do not grasp reality on account of our worries.  Far from being like the beloved disciple, we do not get it right to be able to see and believe.

And so, Mary, noticing that the stone has been removed from the tomb, thinks the worst:  “They have taken the Lord from the tomb.”  Jesus’ predictions about his resurrection on the third day do not occur at all to her.   Later, she will mistake the Teacher for a gardener, her tears making dim her vision.  The one who will draw her out of her current state of mind will not be one or the other of the angels, but only Jesus.  He says to her, “Mary.”  She replies, “Rabbouni.”  He will subsequently confirm her in her apostleship:  she will send her to his brothers to bring them good news.

It is Jesus who chooses us, of course, and not we who choose him (Jn. 15:16).  Even if we are warned about our emotions possibly blinding us, this is no reason to belittle the one who gets excited.  May Judas serve as a warning to us:  in spite of his being chosen, he ended up being a devil (Jn. 6:70), probably because he completely got discouraged when Jesus made clear his rejection of power, money and glory.

Indeed, there is need for Mary’s loving excitement and restless seeking, so that we may dare brave the darkness and seek the light.  Were it not for her contagious initiative, if we left everything in the hands of leaders, would the understanding of the Scripture regarding Jesus’ resurrection be so quickly set in motion in the Church?  Admittedly, one reputed leader, running faster than the other, shows impulsiveness.  But he only takes a peek and does not enter until the arrival and entrance of the other who does not run as fast, letting his impulse be moderated by the other who appears to be less impetuous and a little more reflective.

Precisely because balance must be struck, needing Mary’s excitement is a patriarchal surrounding where men carry a lot weight while women are hardly counted on when it comes to “thinking of, deciding on, and promoting the course to be taken by the Church” (J.A. Pagola, “Women Believers”), notwithstanding their being in the front line in efforts to go about doing good, to witness to Jesus’ resurrection and to proclaim the good news to the poor.  We need the single-minded and bubbling devotion of the women followers of Jesus, so that, focused on Christ, we will guard against sloth, “the vice of ecclesiastics”—says St. Vincent de Paul—or tepidity, “a state of damnation” (Coste VIII, 112), and work hard to make everything here below according to the pattern we see above.  The Church needs Mary who will teach it to accept and give affection and respect, and to inspire—for example, through gestures of poverty and humility, like those of Pope Francis—even the weariest, whose suffering and problems it cannot remedy.

And there is need for women who will attend to the crushed body of Christ and impel us to penetrate the Scriptures and recall, with burning and grateful hearts, that the Messiah suffered, as foretold by the prophets, in order to enter into his glory.



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