TESTIMONY TO THE RESURRECTION
MARY OF MAGDALA:
On that morning, we awoke before the dawn . . . full of sadness and sorrow . . .
Our Lord Jesus had died on the Cross.
We watched them lay his body in the tomb.
“Come, let us take embalming ointments and go to the tomb,” we decided.
We arrived . . .
The huge stone covering the entrance had been removed. We stood there . . . puzzled and terrified.
What could have happened to the Lord Jesus’ body?
We fled – trembling and bewildered – too frightened to talk.
I awoke that morning . . . grieving . . . the Master had been crucified.
He died on the cross . . . he lies in the tomb.
The silence of the dawn was broken . . . it was Mary of Magdala.
She had been running and was out of breath.
She said, “They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we do not know where they put him.”
We – the other disciple and I – we decided we must go to the tomb.
We were running . . . the other disciple ran faster and arrived before I did . . . but he did not go in.
I arrived at the tomb – breathless and afraid – immediately I entered the tomb.
The linen cloths laid on the ground. The swath that covered His head was rolled up in a separate place.
Then we knew.
Then we understood the scripture teaching.
Christ Has Risen From the Dead!
“Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord,
Peace in heaven and glory in the highest.”
How exciting this must have been to be there and see folks praising our Lord and excited about His presence. There are times during our lives that we too encounter the crowd excited for our Lord, this is energizing and uplifting. This is how we feel during Lent at Mass – when there is a community of believers praising our Lord.
Then we move into the Gospel preparing for Holy Week.
In this Gospel, it is the story of how the Disciples struggled to stay awake and pray with Jesus, the betrayal of Jesus, the denial of Peter, and the Crucifixion of Jesus. This is all in preparation for Easter and His rising. During Lent, it should have been time to spend in deeper spiritual growth. But just as with the disciples, there has been exhaustion, confusion, frustration and sadness. How does it feel like we have grown closer to the Lord when during our preparation during Lent, there were illnesses, broken water heaters, more work at the office? We must look at our times of struggles just like the disciples and not lose sight that our Lord will rise and we will grow with Him.
“Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” How long would it have taken you to leave if you had been there? I bet I would have been one of the first to “slip away”. If we have lived any length of time at all, we have sinned. Maybe we have been blessed to only commit small sins but we have sinned.
The attitude change of this crowd is impressive. They were willing to stone the woman caught in adultery. They moved from “ready to stone” to “slipping away”. This section of Christ’s teaching is very quiet and powerful. “Neither do I condemn you.”
I find it so easy to judge or condemn others. Yet this Gospel reminds me that it is not my job to judge others. It is my job to live as well as I can and to encourage others to do likewise. We will live better lives if we let God do the judging.
Reflections on the recent floods in the Midwest makes me recall the stories in the Bible starting from the time of Noah and his Ark after the flood water subsided, Genesis, Chapter 9; 12-17 And this, God said, “is the sign of the covenant which I now make between myself and you and every living creature with you for all ages to come: I now set my bow in the clouds and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I gather the clouds over the earth and the bow appears in the clouds, I shall recall the covenant between myself and you and every living creature, in a word all living things, and never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all living things. When the bow is in the clouds I shall see it and call to mind the eternal covenant between God and every living creature on earth, that is, all living things.” “That, God told Noah, is the sign of the covenant I have established between myself and all living things on earth.”
Even when the waters of the Platte River, the Missouri River and many other small streams and creeks flowed and spread devastation over the lands of the Midwest and the heartache that took place when homes and other properties were washed away in the blink of an eye we can still look for the rainbow in God’s promise. Our lives often take unexpected diversions in many ways; we can always rely on God’s promise of taking care of us. Matthew 6: 26 “Look at the birds in the sky. They do not sow or reap or gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they are?”
Despite all the weather that we have experienced of late and all the changes that have taken place we can remain hopeful to the joy of spring and the relaxation of the summer seasons. As a farm wife, I have come to appreciate each season with the good and bad that it brings. God has many promises that we can look forward to. The most is that at the end of this life He has prepared a place for us. John 14: 1-3 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be.” In the meantime, keep looking for the rainbows and try not to worry about what is next.