“The Lord is Risen!”
A monthly meditation, April 2022
The Gospel according to St John 20:1-9
At the dawn of the Easter Day, Mary of Magdalene rushed to the tomb where Jesus had been buried. Surprisingly, however, St John tells in his Gospel that she could not find his body there.
She wished to see Jesus once again. Those were her sentiments, which we share with her. Nevertheless, the tomb was empty! The Gospel tells us, instead, of the amazing story of her encounter with Jesus. That is as follows:
While Mary stood just beside the tomb weeping, she heard the voice calling her by her name ‘Mary’. It was the voice of her Lord Jesus which Mary would never forget. In the immediate response to that voice, Mary called him ‘My Lord’.
‘My Lord’. This word of Mary tells everything for us; her emotions, her sentiments and even her awe, but above all her love to him, Jesus. It was the encounter that Mary had really dreamt, which, however, she thought that she could not expect.
But now, her dream has become true! Mary, then, rushed to him and tried to hold him in her arms instinctively, but Jesus, now the Risen Lord, told her not holding him.
It was not only Mary but we, too, who, even unconsciously, wanted and tried to hold Jesus in our arms, in our thoughts, in our desires, perhaps, in our small love to him.
On the contrary, it is Jesus who holds us by himself in his strong arms and wishes us to find ourselves in his heart, in his thoughts and above all in his love, thus, in his life everlasting.
The story above reminds us of the words of Jesus spoken at Jerusalem temple just after he entered Jerusalem and a couple of days before his being crucified, saying,
‘When I am lifted up from the earth, I shall draw all people to myself.’ (John 12:32)
His words of Jesus also remind us of the words written by his Apostle St Paul in his letter to the Colossians, which reads:
‘Since you have been raised up to be with Christ, you must look for the
things that are above, where Christ is, sitting at God’s right hand. Let
your thoughts be on things above, not on things that are on the earth,
because you have died, and now the life you have is hidden with Christ
But when Christ is revealed—and he is your life—you, too, will be revealed with him in glory.’ (Colossians 3:1-4)
Mary had to realize that it was not she who should hold Jesus in her arms, but it was Jesus who should hold her in his arms, even it was the Risen Lord Jesus who would lift Mary up, holding her strongly in his arms, to the heaven where she would share her life with his life of the Risen Lord, the life eternal.
The Risen Lord Jesus be with you always,
particularly at the times in difficulties and in needs, just like now.
May God bless you and protect you from every evil.
I wish all of you a very Happy Ester.
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Fr John Satoru Kato
Priest at the Parish of St Ludovico Ibaragi, Kamifukuoka