SEASON OF HOPE
“Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” – Jn. 20:13
Today’s beautiful Gospel reminds us of what it’s like to grieve—to be human—in sorrow and hard times. Mary Magdalene, weeping at Jesus’ empty tomb, feels hopeless after the tragic events of Good Friday and the quiet stillness of Holy Saturday. She feels a deep, metaphysical loss at not knowing where Jesus’ body is. Her fragile, human self (and womanly intuition) already wants to spring into action. To find Him. To fix.
When the angels ask why she is crying, Mary knows there is nothing she can do but feel.
Defeat, loss and sorrow are like that sometimes. There are no answers, only grief. We allow ourselves to cry and feel and be human.
And then dawn breaks, and everything changes. Realizing she is talking to Jesus, Mary immediately calls him by name, Teacher. She recognizes Him when He calls her by name. And, seeing her great joy, Jesus tasks her with something so beautiful and profound—go and announce the Good News, that death has been defeated. Christ is risen.
“I have seen the Lord,” Mary Magdalene says, with great faith and joy. And she goes out and fulfills what God Himself has asked of her.
So, we’ve made it. We are, finally, in the joyous season of Easter. After 40 days of fasting, almsgiving and supplication (with Sundays and plenty of feast days squeezed in) throughout Lent, we now blessed with a full 50 liturgical days (from Easter Sunday to Pentecost) to FEAST and celebrate! For the Lord has risen; Christ has conquered sin and death. It is the true miracle they call Eastertide.
It may seem a little unfitting these days to celebrate in our Church. During Holy Week, a catastrophic fire ripped through the 856-year-old Cathédrale Notre-Dame in Paris, France, causing its historic spire to collapse. Days later, on Easter Sunday, nearly 300 people were killed in targeted attacks on churches and hotels in Sri Lanka, including Catholic parishes in the midst of celebrating Mass.
We are in a time of seemingly endless spiritual battle, with attacks on the Church—on the very foundation of our faith—coming from left, right and within.
But just as Christ promised, there is revival. Just as Mary Magdalene shows us, there is hope even in the human frailty, suffering and unanswered questions.
For me personally, this Lent was the furthest from easy. Going through deep discernment, loneliness and anxiety, there were so many times I felt hopeless, so many times I gave up on my Lenten fast.
But this Lent also taught me the beauty of patience and prayer. It rekindled my relationship with Jesus’ Mother Mary, who I feel very close to, as my immaculate Mother.
A friend of mine recently tweeted, “I admit I didn’t feel prepared for Easter this year at all. But I find comfort in that I have a God whose preparedness makes up for my lack of, and that is a pretty beautiful thing.”
God, in His all-powerful and loving ways, is already prepared and knows what we are truly asking long before we do. Christ on the Cross reminds us that the battle against sin has been won. God conquered death for love of my heart. Just as he called Mary Magdalene on that Easter morning, He calls us by name.
It’s up to us to listen through our grief and accept His call.
This Easter season, what is holding me back from experiencing full joy? Am I listening when God calls me by name?