July 22, 2014

The Gospel Today

Memorial of St. Mary Magdalene

John 20:1-2, 11-18

On the first day of the week,
Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early in the morning,
while it was still dark,
and saw the stone removed from the tomb.
So she ran and went to Simon Peter
and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them,
“They have taken the Lord from the tomb,
and we don’t know where they put him.”

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 Magdalene went and announced to the disciples,
“I have seen the Lord,”
and then reported what he told her.

Reflection (Sem. Wilbert John Alivar):

I remember when I was in college, my teacher in Psychiatric Nursing told me, “Don’t make any big decision if you are emotional because you cannot be rational if you are emotional”.

Mary of Magdala in the Gospel was overwhelmed with emotion that she did not even recognize Jesus. Christ understands that we have weaknesses and limitations. Most of the time we forget Christ. We forget that Christ promised us that he will rise from the dead and will come again… For me, I really need a reminder and not to be overwhelmed with my emotion that in Christ, there is hope.

In the Holy Eucharist I am always reminded of that Paschal Mystery… that Christ has suffered, died and ressurected. Most of the time I cannot recognize the person whom I am talking with, just like Mary, she thought it was the gardener until she was called by name “Mary!” then she recognized that it was Jesus!

One summer time, I visited the cemetery in Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay where my Lolo and Lola were buried, there was an old lady I saw cleaning next to the burial site of my Grandparents, initially I did not recognize her until she called my name “Wilbert!” then I realized it was my Elementary (Grade 1) teacher. I was so happy and surprise that she was able to recall my name and she did not forget me.

I believe that this encounter between Mary and Jesus still happens until now. This encounter happens at all time and in any place, not just in the tomb.

We are called by God by name… that’s how close our relationship with Christ is. Sometimes I’m insensitive that I fail to recognize Christ and yet He still shows his love and care for me. Just like Mary, we may be an instrument of God’s love and hope for our brothers and sisters that Christ is alive and He is with us!

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