Wednesday, July 22, 2015

“Isn’t that the way God works? - He takes the things in our lives that are ugly, disgusting, and downright wicked, and transforms them into something magnificent.”

“Conversion is not the smooth, easy-going process some men seem to think... “― John Bunyan: (1628 – 1688: Author of The Pilgrim’s Progress, arguably the most famous published Christian allegory)

Gospel Text: (JN 20:1-2, 11-18)
On the first day of the week,
Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early in the morning,
while it was still dark,
and saw the stone removed from the tomb.
So she ran and went to Simon Peter
and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them,
“They have taken the Lord from the tomb,
and we don’t know where they put him.”

Mary 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 Magdalene went and announced to the disciples,
“I have seen the Lord,”
and then reported what he told her.

Today is the Memorial of Saint Mary Magdalene. Transformation is a word which comes to mind when I think about Mary Magdalene. She experienced profound personal transformation as she changed how she lived her life. Her love of Jesus and loyalty to him have always been an inspiration to me. What courage she demonstrated as she was present to Jesus during the horrific days of the crucifixion.

The gospel today invites us to pray about the first day after the crucifixion. The ever loyal Mary Magdalene goes to the tomb of Jesus to pray and when seeing the stone removed from the tomb believes that the body of Jesus has been stolen. Her devastating grief clouded her ability to see Jesus but rather she assumes he was the gardener. When she realizes she is talking with her beloved Jesus he says to her, “Stop holding on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father.” Mary Magdalene must start to make sense of the transformation of Jesus. And he needs her help to tell his disciples “I am going to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” Again the abiding faith and loyalty of Mary Magdalene is demonstrated as she shares this important message from Jesus.

When I think about the pictures I have been sorting from my lifespan, I have been reflecting upon times of transformation in my life. While I always strive to been a better person, I know I have had plenty of dark days. Mary Magdalene is such a comfort and an inspiration for me to build upon what I know to be true and also be ready to make a leap of faith.

These questions are part of my reflection and prayer today: When has Jesus been present to me and I have not seen him? In this culture what are the challenges of living my faith with true fidelity? How can I appreciate God’s presence through the transformations in my life? What can I do to accept changes in others? When do I best serve the kingdom of God?

“Tell us Mary, what did you see on the way? I saw the glory of the risen Christ. I saw his empty tomb.”

Get the picture?

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