The Risen Jesus, Mary Magdalene and Me
I often wonder… Would I have understood the significance of what Jesus was saying, much less who Jesus was, if I were among his original disciples?
Jesus often told stories, or parables, to help his friends better understand the message—I’m thinking about the mustard seeds and the prodigal son, to name just a couple. There were also times Jesus spoke plainly about his death and eventual return. And then there are Bible passages that seem to point directly to Jesus’ divinity, despite his being a man here on earth. Would you have understood these analogies, these mysteries, at the time? I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have.
That’s why, in today’s Gospel according to John, I was struck by the immediate, worried reaction of Jesus’ friend Mary of Magdala. The first to discover his empty tomb, she said, “They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they put him.”
Mary wondered… she worried… And I can relate. Because I’m a worrier, too.
For Lent this year, I tried to give up worrying in an effort to be better about trusting in God. But it hasn’t been easy, and I wonder if should’ve just given up chocolate! In the end, here’s what my own faith journey has taught me. Beyond the words and stories in the Bible, I have come to know the risen Jesus through sometimes subtle, sometimes profound life experiences.
I find that when I can set aside worry for at least awhile, I’m able to experience Jesus’ presence—in both myself and others. This is certainly true through our work at CMMB, where my colleagues and I experience the divine in those we meet and serve every single day—and that’s so heartening!
Of course, there are still reasons for concern. My worries mount when I think about our brothers and sisters living and working in some of the world’s least secure places, like Haiti and South Sudan.
But then I take a breath, and I reflect on Mary Magdalene and me. Worried at first, but ultimately invited to understand the mystery of God incarnate, whose spirit dwells within and among us all, to this day.
This Easter, I pray for the grace to let the worries of my mind give way to opening of my heart to the mysteries of the risen Jesus—and I sincerely pray the same for you.
Wishing you and yours every Easter blessing,
Mary Beth Powers
President & CEO