“Three conditions are necessary for Penance: contrition, which is sorrow for sin, together with a purpose of amendment; confession of sins without any omission; and satisfaction by means of good works.” - St. Thomas Aquinas
Gospel text (Jn 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.
Today, in the figure of Mary of Magdala we may contemplate two levels of acceptance of our Savior: the first one, imperfect; complete, the second one. According to the first one, Mary appears as the most sincere of Jesus' disciples. She follows him, unmatched Master; heroically, she sticks to Jesus, crucified because of his love; she looks for him, beyond death, buried and missing. How full of admirable and humble submission to her “Lord” are her two exclamations that, as two unique pearls, the evangelist John has kept for us: «They have taken my Lord and I don't know where they have put him» (Jn 20:13); «Lord, if you have taken him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will go and remove him»! (Jn 20:15). History has seen few disciples as loyal and full of affection as Mary of Magdala.
It is not infrequent today to find many Christians that cannot clearly see what will come after this life and who, therefore, have doubts about Jesus' resurrection. Am I among them? On the other hand, there are too those Christians who have enough faith to follow Jesus privately, but who are afraid of apostolically proclaiming it. Do I belong to these ones?
Why was Mary Magdalene so much quicker to receive Easter than the apostles were? It was because of her love. When we love the Lord and His people, we can catch on to the risen Christ quickly. "Love covers a multitude of sins" (1 Pt 4:8). Love speeds things up, leaps over obstacles, and never fails (1 Cor 13:8).
Ask the Holy Spirit to point out to you a person you have difficulty loving. This situation will either be a detour from or an expressway to Easter. If you can accept God's grace to unconditionally love this person, you will be like Mary Magdalene and immediately have Easter and a deep relationship with the risen Christ. If you refuse to love this person, Easter will have to wait.
Be another Mary Magdalene, let us cling to his feet and let us go to our brothers and tell them: —The Lord has risen and I have seen him!