April 7, 2015

The Gospel Today

Tuesday in the Octave of Easter

John 20:11-18

Mary Magdalene 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 went and announced to the disciples,
“I have seen the Lord,”
and then reported what he had told her.
Reflection (Sem. Eldrick Pena):

           “I have seen the Lord!”  This was what Mary Magdalene so joyfully proclaimed when she found out that Christ has risen from death.  This led me to contemplate on that scene of Magdalene informing the disciples that the Master has resurrected.  All the followers of Jesus could have been overcome with grief and sadness.  They could also probably be in the hiding out of fear and in a state of confusion because of the death of their Master.  Then suddenly, their silence was broken with the proclamation that Christ has resurrected! Mary couldn’t have controlled her joy in breaking the good news to the disciples.  “The Lord has risen.  I have seen Him!”

This experience of Mary Magdalene could also be true to us, especially if we come to experience encountering Christ in our own lives.  We could also have joyfully shouted at the top of our voice, “I have seen the Lord!”

In my life as a priest-in-process, there are many instances when I could really say that I have experienced God moving in my life; through the different people and events, both good and bad that I had.   There are instances that I am asked to do things which I do not like or which I feel are beyond my capacity or there are times I would be experiencing problems and difficulties I consider bigger than myself.  There are also times when I need to make painful and difficult decisions.  But does this mean that I would just sulk in one corner, wail, and then give up?  No! Because in all these, I know God will not abandon me.  This is a time of experiencing God more!  The worst of times is indeed the best of times, as the cliché goes.

Our failure to see God in times of trials and difficulties could be caused by our tendency to just focus on the good events and people as opportunities for us to encounter the Lord.   But it most cases, the Lord, manifests or reveals himself to us more in the not so good events and persons around us.

In the case of the latter, such events and people, in spite of how bad they are, can be opportunities for us to be touched and moved by God’s grace towards greater self realization and they could also help us attain a more positive disposition.   There are really things in our life that we cannot control and change.   But we can always change our disposition about those things through the help of God’s grace.  It’s just like still being able to see Jesus, working in us and through us, even in times of adversities and trials.    And in being able to see Jesus guiding and leading us always, we are then compelled, out of our gratitude, to proclaim to all that “We have seen the Lord!” and in seeing the Lord, we are moved towards greater love and compassion for others so that in turn, they may also see Christ alive in us.

This day, we also celebrate the memorial of St. John Baptist de la Salle, universal patron of all teachers.  His life is also an example of living out the “post-resurrection experience”.  Having heard the good news, he was not satisfied keeping it to himself, rather he decided to share it to all through the congregation he founded.   Today, the La Salle Brothers are in 80 countries with the mission of educating the youth.  I myself am a product of this pioneering apostolate of Catholic education started by St. La Salle.  Through the charism of Catholic Education, the disciples of St. John Baptist de La Salle continue to proclaim to the ends of the earth, Christ is alive! Halleluiah!

What is your post-resurrection experience?

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