18 April 2017
On the day of Pentecost, Peter spoke to the Jews: ‘The whole House of Israel can be certain that God has made this Jesus whom you crucified both Lord and Christ.’
Hearing this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the apostles, ‘What must we do, brothers?’ ‘You must repent,’ Peter answered ‘and every one of you must be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise that was made is for you and your children, and for all those who are far away, for all those whom the Lord our God will call to himself.’ He spoke to them for a long time using many arguments, and he urged them, ‘Save yourselves from this perverse generation.’ They were convinced by his arguments, and they accepted what he said and were baptised. That very day about three thousand were added to their number.
Mary stayed outside near the tomb, weeping. Then, still weeping, 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 recognise him. Jesus said, ‘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 knew him 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 and find the brothers, and tell them: I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ So Mary of Magdala went and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord and that he had said these things to her.
Who are you looking for?
I always look forward to the Easter Vigil service when we welcome into our community the newly-baptised and those who are to be confirmed. It is indeed heartening to see each year, the number of children and young adults who take the leap of faith and accept Jesus as their Lord and master. Having been a cradle Catholic and baptised from birth, I have often wondered if I would have made the same decision to follow Christ if my parents had not done it for me.
My own search for Jesus was never a real conscious one. Instead, I was fortunate to have attended the Conversion Experience Retreat in 2011 and had my personal encounter with Him then. Since then, I have encountered Him in many other retreats and along the Camino as well. And in spite of my many encounters over the years, I constantly feel the need to see Him again, whether in the flesh or to feel the touch of His presence.
Brothers and sisters, we search for meaning each day in our lives as we plod on with our daily routines. But after 40 days of Lent, have we ever stopped to reflect and examine ourselves to see if we have grown in our spitiruality? For now that Christ is risen, surely He has reawakened in us the fire that we were given at our baptism and during our confirmation. In today’s Gospel, Jesus asks Mary who she is looking for, then when she finally realises it is Him, He tells her not to cling to him.
We tend to cling on to hope, especially in times of distress and when we face choppy seas. Yes, Jesus is and always will be there to save us. But what about the times when we do not see him nor feel His calming presence? Does that mean that He no longer cares or is too busy to help us? I think the opposite is true. Just as He prepared Mary and His disciples for life ‘without’ Him in person, He is now ‘present’ in everyone and in every situation we encounter after His resurrection and ascension.
If you open your heart and look hard enough, you will see Jesus in everyone around you. Yes, even in that difficult colleague or family member. Brothers and sisters, that is how we will be able to save ourselves from this perverse generation – by looking at others with the eyes of Christ. Who you are looking for may actually be closer to your heart than you think.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Desmond Soon)
Prayer: Lord, we pray that we are able to discern Christ’s presence in our daily lives and in our own hearts.
Thanksgiving: Thank you Lord, for sending your Son into our world and for the gift of discernment.