Daily Reflection for Tuesday, April 19, 2022
Peace and Blessings, Friends and Parishioners,
If you prefer to use your own Bible, the readings are:
First Reading: Acts 2:36-41
Responsorial: Psalm 33: 4-5, 18-19, 20 and 22
Gospel: John 20:11-18
Our reflection on Tuesday’s readings:
Jesus said to her, “Mary.” John 20:16
Having once been an avid gardener, today’s gospel has always been a favorite.
It tells the Easter morning story of Mary Magdalene visiting the tomb where Jesus was buried. Mary is distressed to find the empty tomb. As she struggles with her grief, the resurrected Jesus appears to her, but she does not recognize Him; she mistakes Him for the gardener. It is only when Jesus calls her by name that Mary recognizes Him. What an amazing moment--Mary’s grief is instantly transformed to joy by hearing the living Jesus address her by name.
There are many artistic depictions of this scene. My favorite is Fra Angelico’s fresco. I am struck by the intensity of the encounter as depicted in this painting. Mary longs to grasp Jesus who, just moments before, she had thought was lost to her forever. I recognize the disjunction of Mary simultaneously dealing with good and bad news. In her case, the good news clearly obliterated the bad news—Jesus was alive!
We have just observed the magnificent Easter feast in which we celebrate God vanquishing death and making all things new. Yet most of us still face situations that worry us. Friends, family members, perhaps we ourselves struggle with illness and hardships. Poverty and homelessness continue to plague so many in our society. The war in Ukraine rages on. Where is Easter’s promise in all of this?
I find encouragement in theologian John Shea's insight on today’s gospel. He considers Mary’s question: tell me where you laid Him and Jesus’ response, Mary. What if we interpret Mary as Jesus’ exact answer to her question about where Jesus was laid? What if Jesus means to tell us that the Spirit of the resurrected Jesus has been laid into each one of His baptized disciples? What if that means that each one of us could bring Jesus’ healing, life-giving Spirit to every one of the situations that worry us?
What might Jesus want me to understand as I imagine hearing Him speak my name to me: Jean? Where is He urging me to share His new life? What message do you hear as you imagine Jesus speaking your name to you?
Wishing you God’s Easter blessings,