Monday, July 21, 2014

I Have Seen the Lord

By Beth DeCristofaro

(Mary) 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.  (John 20:14-18)

Jesus, you made Mary Magdalen the first witness to your Resurrection.  May we learn to love as she did and always give you first place in our hearts.  Let our encounters with you change us into faith-filled witnesses so we can proclaim with Mary, “I have seen the Lord.”  (Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane, Australia)  )

So how could Mary possibly not recognize Jesus with whom, tradition has it, with whom she traveled and served during his ministry?  Perhaps in rising He was so transformed so that he was unrecognizable.  Maybe it was the dark of the early morning that hid his face.  Could her weeping have blocked her vision?  Or that her preconceived notions of death, loss and permanence obscured the new reality and Truth from her.

Actually, in all of those possibilities I see myself and how I have not always been able to perceive God’s presence in my life.  Not recognizing the resurrection in someone who has hurt me or who acted “wrongly,” I have continued to judge or give a cold-shoulder treatment.  There have been many periods of my life in which I experienced darkness, acted on my own impatience and made questionable choices.  In times of sorrow I have cried “Why me?”  Both prejudice and an attitude of complete righteousness about things have led me to be less loving that I might have been.

But Mary’s eyes were opened and her joy returned when she heard her name on Jesus’ divine lips.  She did not let her moment of impaired vision slow her down to witness and proclaim that Jesus was risen.  Mary gives me the hope that I too can proceed forward from my sightless moments and stand again with Jesus, knowing he is always present.

A Baptist Minister, a friend of mine, says “If only people would read the Bible everyone would get along.”  I believe that if everyone would look for God in themselves and others we would all get along.  Say a prayer for those who cannot acknowledge God is loving and present so they act out of their own blindness and self-interest.  Say a prayer for God’s peace to be revealed and confessed for those caught in and those causing conflict in the world.  

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