FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD
April 18, 2017
EASTER TUESDAY – JESUS LIVES!
WORD of the DAY
Mary stayed outside the tomb, crying; …She 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 of Magdala went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord,” and what he told her. (John 20: 11/14-18)
Today’s Gospel is very touching in its enchanting simplicity. The loving figure of Mary of Magdala reappears. A note of interest in her regard is that Pope Francis has explicitly willed that the memorial of Mary be raised to that of ‘feast’ with the title ‘Apostle of the Apostles’ on June 22nd and a recent document (2016) of the Congregation of Divine Worship has done this. John describes to us this woman of faith who was outside the tomb, crying. Instead, the apostles had come and had gone away. Mary remains there stricken with grief, held by a deep love for the Master that however, is still human but readies her for the imminent encounter with the Risen One. Jesus is already present but Mary does not recognize Him, she is too immersed in her sorrow. Mary must be converted to Easter faith; she is looking for a dead person, and does not yet know that she must look for someone alive! Only the Risen One can work this conversion, but first He must call His little sheep by name: “Mary!” Then everything changes.
It is what happens with us as well. It is not our eyes that allow us to recognize Jesus, but His voice. That timbre, that tone, that name whispered within us with infinite tenderness, makes all the barriers fall that separate us. It is enough to have heard it even only once, for it to remain engraved indelibly forever in our soul. We can never forget the voice of Jesus. Heard for a moment, if received in our depths, it remains there. Mary grasps Jesus’ feet and embraces Him with the tenderness of one who has found the Man-God of her life. But Jesus tells her not to hold on to Him; she cannot hold Him only for herself. The love of Christ is a power that pushes us to go beyond, to not close in ourselves, to keep only for ourselves. The encounter with the Risen One puts everything in motion: and Mary becomes the first proclaimer of the Gospel of the Resurrection to the disciples. She is the Apostle of the Apostles!
The Voice of St. Thomas Aquinas, Angelic Doctor
It is noteworthy that Mary was also given a triple privilege. Above all, the prophetic privilege for the fact that she merited to see the Angels. The second angelic privilege was that she saw Christ. The third privilege is the apostolic ministry; she herself became the apostle of the apostles for the fact that she was entrusted with the task of proclaiming the Resurrection of the Lord to the disciples.