Monday, April 9, 2012

Tuesday within the Octave of Easter

But Mary 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 of Magdala went and announced to the disciples, "I have seen the Lord," and what he told her. (John 20: 11-18)

Introductory Prayer: Dear Lord, I want to find you in prayer. I believe that you are here awaiting this expression of my love. I trust that you will manifest yourself to me and speak to my heart. I love you and share your love with others. Show me how to live this love, Lord.

Petition: Grant me Lord the grace to seek and possess you so much in prayer that I will faithfully give you to others.

1. “They Have Taken My Lord.” Mary’s words reveal that she is not simply following through with the formalities of Jewish burial custom, but she is seeking the Lord. Deep bonds of faith and love have bound her to Jesus. She weeps because he has been kept alive in her heart. Jesus belongs to her. Out of love she will anoint his dead body. Nothing will keep her from loving him, not a huge boulder, nor guards, nor strangers who may have taken him away. For her they have not just taken his body, “they have taken my Lord.” Is Jesus “my” Lord? Have I allowed a personal relationship to develop to the point that I seek him in all that I do, to the point that any offense to him hurts me?

2. “Whom Are You Looking For?” Jesus does not abandon those who look for him. “Seek and you shall find,” he had told his disciples. So many people today spend their lives searching for all the wrong things, those that enslave them, those that leave them empty and broken. Mary is searching for her true love and happiness. She has experienced loneliness before, but never so deeply.

Jesus speaks to her first through the angels: “Why are you weeping?” And then he himself repeats, “Who is the one for whom you weep?” As if to say, “Remember who it is you are looking for. Did he not first seek and find you?” Mary doesn’t answer, she just insists, “If you have carried him away … I will take him.” He speaks her name, as he had done so many times before, “Mary,” and Jesus finds her again. Do I know whom I am searching for in prayer?

3. “Stop Holding Onto Me.” And so Mary does “take” Jesus back, as she embraces the body she thought to be dead and lost. She is not about to let go either. She will not lose her Lord again. Yet, Jesus’ words seem surprising, “stop holding on to me.” Surely he wants her faith and love to hold on to him. Surely he wants her to keep growing in friendship and intimacy with him. Surely he wants her never to lose sight of him. But in this life it is not enough to contemplate Jesus. Holding him means to communicate him, his life and his love. “When I am in heaven you can simply hold on to me forever, but for now we must evangelize the world. Go to my brothers and tell them.” Does my prayer produce the desire and act of bringing Christ to others?

Dialogue with Christ: Help me Lord to persevere in seeking you. Grant me the grace to live out my search in my life. May my heart hold on to you and to your will as you reveal it to me. I want to love you to the point of communicating your life by all I say and do. Let my love bring others to you. May I always hold on to you the way you want me to.

Resolution: I will consciously state my intention of seeking Christ at the beginning of my prayers and meditations.

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