23Apr Easter Tuesday

23 April 2019.

1st Reading: Acts 2:36-41

Since God wants all to be saved, Peter calls those who crucified Jesus to repent and be saved

Peter said, “Therefore let the entire house of Israel know with certainty that God has made him both Lord and Messiah, this Jesus whom you crucified.” Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and to the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?” Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him.” And he testified with many other arguments and exhorted them, saying, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” So those who welcomed his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand persons were added.

Responsorial: Psalm 33

R.: The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord

The word of the Lord is righteous,
and all his works are trustworthy.
He loves justice and right;
of the kindness of the Lord the earth is full. (R./)

See, the eyes of the Lord are upon those who fear him,
upon those who hope for his kindness,
To deliver them from death
and preserve them in spite of famine. (R./)

Our soul waits for the Lord,
who is our help and our shield.
May your kindness, O Lord, be upon us
who have put our hope in you. (R./)

Gospel: John 20:11-18

Mary Magdalene encounters the risen Jesus, but at first fails to recognize him

Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” 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, “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, “I am ascending 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 she told them that he had said these things to her.


Coming to recognize him

It is notable how the Easter stories  convey the gradual recognition of Jesus, after his resurrection. John’s vivid portrayal of Mary Magdalene challenging the gardener to hand back the body of Jesus conveys some sense of their stupor and confusion. At first, all they hoped for was to be able to show honour to his mortal remains. But when he calls Mary by her name (Miriam, its Hebrew form), she makes the joyful leap of recognition: that he is truly there, alive! An interesting point is their eagerness to tell each other about him, to share their religious experience. “Go and tell” is a recurring theme in these Easter episodes. Magdalene will tell the rest of the group, not just that he is alive, but that he is going back to the Father, his Father and theirs, with whom he enjoys a more intimate union than can any other human being. The uniquely special relationship conveyed by the phrase “my Father and your Father” is what the Magdalene recognizes and passes on.

We get a lively report of how Peter, the church’s principal public witness, trying to help his Jewish people to recognize Jesus as their Messiah and saviour, even those who had called for his death and supported his crucifixion. The kind of Messiah that they had come to know was one intent on calling everyone to salvation, with all their sins forgiven. All they need do, in order to draw close to God, is turn to Jesus with faith, express this conversion through baptism, and receive an outpouring of the Holy Spirit. And we ourselves, in this Easter week, can come to recognize anew the various ways that Jesus is still living among us, not only in the holy eucharist and in the Gospel we read, but also in our fellow-Christians, in the blessings of this world, and in whatever is best in our own selves.

He calls us by name

Mary Magdalene felt devasted, as she stood in tears beside the tomb of Jesus. The angels asked her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” Then Jesus himself asked her the reason for her tears. She grieves because she cannot find the Lord. We too may grieve when we lose someone who is significant for us, or when we cannot seem to connect with someone important to us, no matter how hard we try. We search and we cannot find, and, so, we grieve. In the case of Mary, she searched and she found, or, rather, the Lord for whom she was searching found her, and he called out to her by her name, “Mary.”

We may not always succeed in finding what we have lost, but we will always find Jesus if we really search for him… because he is in fact searching for us. He is the good shepherd who calls his own by name. He knows our name, even before we begin to search for him. Our finding him is because he is searching for us. He came to seek and to save the lost, and we are all lost to some degree. The Lord seeks us out in his love. All we need to do is to put ourselves in the way of his searching love, as Mary Magdalene did. She has something to teach us about seeking the Lord in our pain and loss.

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