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I Have Seen the Lord
Tuesday in the Octave of Easter
Mary Magdalene stayed outside the tomb weeping. And as she wept, she bent over into the tomb and saw two angels in white sitting there, one at the head and one at the feet where the Body of Jesus had been. And they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken my Lord, and I don’t know where they laid him.” When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus there, but did not know it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” 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. Jesus said to her, “Stop holding on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am going to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Mary went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord,” and then reported what he had told her.
Opening Prayer: Jesus, I place myself quietly in your presence, ready to encounter you in a real and profound way, eager to experience you and the joy of your Resurrection as I make my way through this Easter Octave. So many years have passed since your Resurrection took place. And yet, your word is eternal. It is as powerful now as when you spoke it for the first time. You have the power to reach through time and say my name to me, as you exclaimed “Mary!” in the garden. And through the power of your Resurrection, as you are present everywhere and always, you can let me reach out and touch you. You can let me cling to you, here and now. And you can send me to announce to others what I have experienced.
- Mary Wept: Here we have a woman with a dramatic and painful history who encountered Christ in a life-changing event—the expulsion of her seven demons. Mary had already been living a sort of “resurrected” life well before Jesus’ Passion, death, and Resurrection. Christ was her life. Her dependence on him seemed so absolute that his death must have nearly destroyed her. If we want to, we can see ourselves in Mary of Magdala. If we have the courage, we can imagine ourselves as desperate for Christ as she was, and very dependent on him. We can look on our baptism, our conversion, our receiving of his grace as the only thing that gives us life. We can say with Mary, “My life depends totally on you, Lord. I have no hope, no joy outside of you. Without you, I am completely lost.”
- The Dialogue: The Scriptures always have something to teach us. What could Our Lord have been trying to share with us in this short, intense dialogue? First, it’s puzzling that Mary, who loved the Lord so passionately, didn’t recognize him at the tomb. This can prompt us to reflect on the moments we have failed to recognize his presence, and appreciate that the Lord sometimes loves us in mysterious ways. When Jesus asked Mary whom she sought and why she wept, let it remind us that Jesus knows everything, and yet is always waiting for us to share our concerns and open our hearts more deeply to him. Mary’s desire to find his body and carry it away revealed the intensity of her love. Do we wonder if we love Christ as much as she does? When we grieve or worry, who do we look for? Mary was overwhelmed and overjoyed when Jesus said her name. She responded, “Rabonni.” What term of endearment do we use in prayer to call out to Jesus?
- She Went and Told the Disciples: At some point, Mary’s beautiful moment with Jesus had to end. In this most significant moment of Mary’s life, she was quickly told that she had a mission. She was sent by Christ to tell the Apostles, “I have seen the Lord.” In the great chain of friends telling friends about the news of the Resurrection, Mary was the first. The Apostles were number two. What number are we? If we have let ourselves really penetrate this encounter, we can share the news with the same intensity and conviction as Mary did.
Conversing with Christ: Lord Jesus, I hear you say my name today. I want your voice to enter deep into my consciousness. I want to turn to you and see you before me, relieving me of all my fear, my doubts, my tears. You want to gently pull me away from solving my problems my way and direct me toward the one truth that really matters: that you are here. Help me to be your apostle and to share with others the truth of your presence with us.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will acknowledge your presence frequently throughout the day.
For Further Reflection: From St. Teresa of Avila: Christ Has No Body But Yours.
Fr. Adam Zettel, LC, was ordained in 2017 and worked for three years as a high school chaplain in Dallas, Texas. Now he resides in Oakville, Ontario, serving youth and young adults.