Daily Reflection for Friday, July 22, 2022
Peace and Blessings, Friends and Parishioners,
We encourage you to reflect on Friday’s readings at this link:
If you prefer to use your own Bible, the readings are:
First Reading: Song of Songs 3:1-4b/2 Corinthians 5:14-17
Responsorial: Psalms 63:2, 3-4, 5-6, 8-9
Gospel: John 20:1-2, 11-18
Our reflection on Friday’s readings:
“She thought it was the gardener and said to him, ‘Sir, if you carried him away, tell me where you laid him, and I will take him’. Jesus said to her, ‘Mary!’ She turned and said to him in Hebrew, ‘Rabbouni,’ which means Teacher.” John 20: 15-16
I am the youngest of eight children, and my mother suffered a miscarriage before I was born. So, when she subsequently became pregnant with me, she prayed to St. Gerard, the patron saint of expectant mothers, for a successful pregnancy. That answered prayer is why she gave me the name Gerard, and I have come to cherish it as I have grown older. On the less traditional side, I have a nephew who named his son Noen, to remind his child that he is known (noen) by God. I think that is a great name as well. In our Judeo-Christian tradition, names seem to be very important. Sometimes God would even give people a new name…Abram became Abraham to indicate he would father a multitude; Jacob became Israel because he wrestled with God; and Simon became Peter because he would become a rock on which the church would be built. I think one reason for the emphasis on names is to reinforce something none of us should ever forget… our God knows and cares for each of us individually and intimately.
In today’s reading, there is an interesting interaction between Mary Magdalene and Jesus. First, Mary sees the resurrected Jesus outside the tomb, and does not recognize him. Next, Jesus speaks to her, but she still does not recognize him. In fact, she mistakes him for a gardener. Finally, Jesus simply speaks Mary’s name, and right away she clues in and clings to him.
When Mary looked into the tomb, she was flooded with questions. Who took Jesus? What did they do with him? She immediately interrogates the “gardener” to find answers, but I expect the deeper question Mary was struggling with was “With Jesus gone, who am I?” Jesus answers that fundamental question just by speaking Mary’s name, echoing the words of scripture: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name: you are mine.” (Isaiah 43:1)
Like Mary, we can sometimes be so focused on our questions about God that we can completely miss the presence of Jesus himself. We can become like pharisees, knowing many answers but having hearts that are far from God. Maybe we need to set aside those myriad questions and simply sit and listen for the voice of Jesus. Perhaps we will hear him quietly speaking our name…letting us know not to fear…letting us know that we are his. Perhaps “Whose am I?” is the only question we really need to know the answer to.
Grace and Peace to you,