TO SEE THE RISEN LORD
(A biblical reflection on TUESDAY OF THE OCTAVE OF EASTER, April 26, 2011)
Gospel Reading: Jn 20:11-17
But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one the head and one at the feet. They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.” Saying this, she turned round and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom do you seek? Supposing Him to be the gardener, she said to Him, “Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to Him in Hebrew, Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Do not hold me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, I am ascending to My Father and your Father, to My God and your God.” (Jn 20:11-17 RSV)
In today’s Gospel Jesus appeared to a woman, Mary Magdalene. It was Easter morning. The Risen Lord asked Mary Magdalene two questions: “Woman, why are you weeping?” and “Whom do you seek?” These two questions were asked, not as a traveler requesting a street address or building location, not as a pilgrim asking for a location of a particular shrine, but as a teacher asking questions to one of his students.
Our good Lord is always persuading a faith expression from His believing people. Mary Magdalene was challenged here to put her feelings in words and, thereby, be even more definite and clear about her true convictions. Mary quickly saw that it was truly Jesus. She understood and addressed Him as Teacher. Jesus is our Savior and Teacher who uses the same approach to elicit the best from each and everyone of us.
Therefore, we also should be able to shout out as Mary did, “I have seen the Lord” (Jn 21:18). What does the Risen Lord actually look like? We would have to know Him in order to say we have seen the Lord. Mary Magdalene knew Jesus well but at first she saw only the gardener – then she saw Jesus in the very same person. [A similar thing was experienced by the two disciples on the road to a village named Emmaus (Lk 24:16)]. We, too, are to see Jesus in the gardener, fellow traveller, janitor, cab driver, factory worker and in all ordinary women and men we encounter. When we see them as our sisters and brothers, then we have seen the Risen Lord.
Short Prayer: Lord Jesus, give me the grace to see You in the ordinary people I encounter today and in the days to come. Amen.
Jakarta, April 26, 2011
A Christian Pilgrim