March 25, 2008

Called to See

I love today's Gospel (John 20:11-18) in which mourning Mary Magdalene fails to recognize Jesus. She thinks he's the gardener. But he calls her by name and then she knows it is the Lord.

Now if someone who knew Jesus well in his historical life didn't recognize him right away in his new, risen, and eschatological life, what hope is there for us?

I think it's the calling by name that's important. As it made the difference for Mary, so I think it makes the difference for us. For those moments when we are able to truly see the Risen Lord in the joy or suffering of another person, in the Spirit praying within us, or in the bread and wine of his Eucharist, it is only because God has called us to see in prayer. God has called us by name and invited us to notice his Risen Presence in all these things.

But just as Jesus told Mary to stop "holding on" to him, so it is with our experiences of the Risen Lord. As soon as we try to grab on to these moments as if they were something of our own, the Presence of God retreats again. But this retreat is not an abandonment but an invitation for us to go deeper into the mystery of ourselves and God in prayer, and so to hear ourselves called by name at a place closer and closer to the core of our own human identity, which after all is Christ himself.

1 comment:

tara said...

i love the Gospel readings (all the readings) of Easter week, too! i really love Easter and the Easter season so much! even since a child of age seven, i've always loved Easter so much more than Christmas. age seven seemed to be a very significant year for me: i received my First Holy Communion; developed a very deep devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and had a real understanding of the meaning and importance of Easter and the events leading up to Easter. these experiences did not come from my family, though. my family was not (is still not) very religious at all, so i feel that Jesus, Himself, drew me close to Himself and gave me some wisdom at a very young age.
you're right about the importance of being called by name. it does make a difference. i've experienced this in prayer often - sometimes very clearly and other times maybe not so clearly. but, i know that we can't "hold on" to our experiences and that we are called to go out and share our experiences with others.
and, yes, the more we listen and are open to hearing God call our name, the closer and deeper we go into His presence in prayer.
thank you for your post, Fr. Charles, on "Called to See" and thanks very much for the honor of serving at Mass once in a while when i'm able to come to daily Mass in the mornings. serving is the ministry i love most.