Today’s Season of Joy reflection on Matthew 28:8-15 is by Becky Eldredge.
Becky is passionate about inviting people closer to Jesus. She does this by accompanying people through deep waters via spiritual direction, retreats, writing, and as founder of Ignatian Ministries. You can learn more at beckyeldredge.com
To read the full Gospel of the day, please visit: https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/041822.cfm
Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went away quickly from the tomb,
fearful yet overjoyed, and ran to announce the news to his disciples.
Welcome to our reflection on today’s Gospel on this Easter Monday. In reading this gospel I was reminded of a moment, several months back, when I got an early morning phone call from a friend. It was early enough that when the phone rang and the call came in I was a little bit nervous, curious, what was going to be going on when I answered the phone to hear what was happening.
When I answered the phone and I heard my friend’s voice, the first moment that she spoke I could tell that her voice was full of both joy and tears. And she said to me, “Becky Becky, I understand something new today.”
And I asked my friend, “Well, what is it? What is it that has you this morning so full of both joy and tears? And what she said is, “I realize it all matters to Jesus.”
Now what my friend was referring to was that she had had a hard season of life years ago, and she was also in the throes of a hard season of life. And what God had brought her to that morning in prayer was the realization that everything that she had gone through, and was going through in that moment, mattered to Jesus.
My friend that morning reminded me of Mary Magdalene in today’s Gospel. Where Mary Magdalene and the other Mary come to the tomb in their grief; coming to acknowledge the real of what had happened to their friend. And they are unexpectedly met by the Angels, and then also by the Risen Christ.
Mary Magdalene is truly the Apostle to the Apostles. She is an apostle to each one of us because of what her model shows us. First, Mary Magdalene had the courage to name the real and acknowledge the real of her life. She went to the tomb and tended to her sadness, knowing that her friend Jesus was not there. And there, in the real that she was acknowledging, she is met by the Risen Christ in the present moment. She is invited to look around and pay attention for the signs of New Life. The Angels; the empty tomb; Jesus himself.
Then here in this moment—acknowledging the empty, yet full tomb—feeling both fearful and yet overjoyed, Mary Magdalene is sent forth. Jesus tells her, “Do not be afraid.” He tells her who to move towards in this new season of life and what to say. He says, “Go and tell your brothers.”
And I don’t know about you, but I’m sure glad that she did because of her witness and all of the Apostles’ witness after her that we have the Risen Christ to believe in.
So, I invite you to look at your own life and to be like Mary Magdalene and have the courage to bring the real to Jesus’s attention, as my friend did that morning on the phone; as Mary Magdalene did. I invite you to look around and look with Jesus and notice signs of new life that are happening before us. Before you.
Then listen for how Jesus is giving you your next steps forward to embrace the new life, even if you feel fearful, and yet overjoyed, that Jesus too will tell you—as he did Mary Magdalene—who to move towards, and what good news to share with them.