Tuesday - Easter Time
1) Opening prayer
Our God of life,
we profess our faith in Jesus
and recognize him as our Lord and Saviour.
Make us listen to him
when he speaks his good news to us
for it is a message of life.
May we also hear his voice
when he cries out to us in people in need
or simply when he speaks to us
in people who express to us
their joys and hopes, their love and their faith.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
2) Gospel Reading - John 20, 11-18
Mary was standing outside near the
tomb, weeping. Then, as she wept, she stooped to look inside, and saw two
angels in white sitting where the body of Jesus had been, one at the head, the
other at the feet. They said, 'Woman, why are you weeping?' 'They have taken my
Lord away,' she replied, 'and I don't know where they have put him.'
As she said this she turned round
and saw Jesus standing there, though she did not realise that it was Jesus.
Jesus said to her, 'Woman, why are you weeping? Who are you looking for?'
Supposing him to be the gardener, she said, 'Sir, if you have taken him away,
tell me where you have put him, and I will go and remove him.' Jesus said,
'Mary!' She turned round then and said to him in Hebrew, 'Rabbuni!' -- which
means Master. Jesus said to her, 'Do not cling to me, because I have not yet
ascended to the Father. But go to the brothers, and tell them: I am ascending
to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'
So Mary of Magdala told the
disciples, 'I have seen the Lord,' and that he had said these things to her.
Today’s Gospel describes the apparition of Jesus to Mary Magdalene. The death
if her great friend urges Mary to lose the sense of life. But she does not give
up her search. She goes to the tomb in order to meet again the one whom death
has taken away. There are moments in our life in which everything crumbles. It
seems that everything is finished. Death, disasters, pain and suffering,
disillusions, betrayals! So many things which may cause us to feel in the air,
without standing on firm ground and which can lead us to fall into a deep
crisis. But other things also happen. For example, that suddenly we meet a
friend again and that can give us hope anew and can make us discover that love
is stronger than death and defeat.
Chapter 20 in John’s Gospel, besides the apparitions of Jesus to Magdalene, it also
speaks about diverse episodes which reveal the richness, indicate the richness
of the experience of the Resurrection: (a) to the beloved disciple and to Peter
(Jn 20, 1-10); (b) to Mary Magdalene (Jn 20, 11-18); (c) to the community of
disciples (Jn 20, 19-23) and (d) to the Apostle Thomas (Jn 20, 24-29). The
purpose of the writing of the Gospel is that of leading persons to believe in
Jesus, and believing in him, to have life (Jn 20, 30-3).
In the way of describing the apparition of Jesus to Mary Magdalene one
perceives, one is aware of the different stages of the road that she had to
follow, of the sorrowful search up to the time of the encounter at Easter.
These are also the stages through which we all have to pass, throughout our
life, seeking God and living the Gospel.
John 20, 11-13: Mary Magdalene weeps, but she seeks. There was a very
strong love between Jesus and Mary Magdalene. She was one of the few persons
who had the courage to remain with Jesus up to the moment of his death on the
Cross. After the obligatory rest on Saturday, she goes back to the tomb to be
in the place where she had met her Beloved for the last time. But,
surprisingly, the tomb is empty! The angels ask her: “Woman, why are you
weeping?” and her response is: “They have taken away my Lord and I do not know
where they have put him!” Mary Magdalene looked for Jesus, that Jesus whom she
had known during three years.
John 20, 14-15: Mary Magdalene speaks with Jesus without knowing him. The
Disciples of Emmaus saw Jesus but they did not recognize him. She thinks that
he is the gardener. And just as the angels had done, Jesus also asks: “Why are
you weeping?” and he adds: “Who are you looking for?” The response: “If you
have taken him away, tell me where you have put him and I will go and get him”.
She was still looking for the Jesus of the past, the same one of three days
before. And it is precisely the image of the Jesus of the past which prevents
her to recognize the living Jesus, who is present before her.
John 20, 16: Mary Magdalene recognizes Jesus. Jesus pronounces the name:
“Mary!” This was the sign to recognize him: the same voice, the same way of
pronouncing the name. She answers: “Master!” Jesus had returned the same, as
the one who had died on the cross. The first impression was that death was only
a painful incident on the journey, but now everything has again become as
before. Mary embraces Jesus strongly. He was the same Jesus whom she had known
and loved. And thus, is fulfilled what the Parable of the Good Shepherd said:
“He calls them by name and they recognize his voice”. “I know my sheep and my
sheep know me” (Jn 10, 3.4.14).
John 20, 17-18: Mary Magdalene receives the mission to announce the
resurrection to the Apostles. In fact, it is the same Jesus, but the way of
being together with her is not the same as before. Jesus tells her: “Do not
cling to me, because I have not as yet ascended to the Father!” He goes toward
the Father. Mary Magdalene has to let Jesus go and assume her mission: to
announce to the brothers that he, Jesus, has ascended to the Father. Jesus has
opened up the way for us and thus, once more, God is close to us.
4) Personal questions
Have you ever had an experience which has given you the impression of loss and
of death? How was it? What is it that gave you new life and gave you the hope
and the joy of living?
Which is the change that took place in Mary Magdalene throughout the dialogue? Mary
Magdalene was looking for Jesus in a certain way and found him in a different
way. How does this take place in our life?
5) Concluding Prayer
We are waiting for Yahweh;
he is our help and our shield,
for in him our heart rejoices,
in his holy name we trust.
Yahweh, let your faithful love
rest on us,
as our hope has rested in you. (Ps 33,20-22)