Prayer in Eastertime

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Memorial of Tikhon, patriarch of Moscow and of the entire Russia, who died in 1925; with him we remember all the confessors and martyrs of the Orthodox Church during the Communist regime. Memorial of the genocide in Rwanda in 1994.


Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Christ is risen from the dead
and will die no more.
He awaits us in Galilee!

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

John 20,11-18

But Mary was standing outside near the tomb, weeping. Then, as she wept, she stooped to look inside, and saw two angels in white sitting where the body of Jesus had been, one at the head, the other at the feet. They said, 'Woman, why are you weeping?' 'They have taken my Lord away,' she replied, 'and I don't know where they have put him.' As she said this she turned round and saw Jesus standing there, though she did not realise that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, 'Woman, why are you weeping? Who are you looking for?' Supposing him to be the gardener, she said, 'Sir, if you have taken him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will go and remove him.' Jesus said, 'Mary!' She turned round then and said to him in Hebrew, 'Rabbuni!' -- which means Master. Jesus said to her, 'Do not cling to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to the brothers, and tell them: I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.' So Mary of Magdala told the disciples, 'I have seen the Lord,' and that he had said these things to her.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Christ is risen from the dead
and will die no more.
He awaits us in Galilee!

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Mary Magdalene has stayed by the tomb crying over the death of her Lord. She went to the tomb and not finding him, she continued seeking him. She asks everyone, the two angels "in white robes" and the "gardener", where the master can be. She is totally focused on finding the one without him she feels lost. Nothing else interests her. In this passion of hers, she is the example of the true believer, of one who never stops looking for the Lord. After questioning the two angels, she sees a man who she thinks is the "gardener:" He is the risen Jesus. She sees Jesus with her eyes, but she does not recognize him with the eyes of the heart. Only when she hears the voice of that man calling her by name, her heart is touched and the eyes of her body open. It is an emblematic scene that describes in its power the meaning of faith. This Gospel "icon" describes what happens to us when the Word of God is addressed to us. They are not the eyes of our body that allow us to recognize Jesus, but rather his voice, his word. Listening to the Word of God with that woman's heart who was seeking her Teacher in any way, means not only recognizing him but also never abandoning him again. The voice of the risen Christ is the Gospel. Even if we listen to it for just a moment, we will never renounce it. Familiarity with the words of the Gospel, indeed, is familiarity with the Lord: it is the way to meet and recognize him. After listening to him, Mary throws herself at Jesus' feet and embraces him, "Do not hold on me... But go to my brothers." The love of the Gospel is an energy that pushes us to go beyond. It is not a love that makes us stay where we are and not even a possession to be enjoyed individually. Mary understood that the Risen One would be with her for ever. This is why, full of joy, she ran toward the disciples to proclaim to them all: "I have seen the Lord!" She, the sinner, had become the first "apostle" of the Gospel of the resurrection.