Acts 2: 36-41
John 20: 11-18
We are still in Easter week and yet Acts 2 takes us immediately to Pentecost and the amazing work of the Spirit. We see the early community of believers growing. It is showing us that it is all one great mystery. The Gospel on the other hand, has Mary still weeping at the tomb, desperate to know what has happened to Jesus’ body. She has not been able to perform the last anointing of his body with spices and perfumes. Her focus is on death, not life, much less risen life. She is behaving as many of us do after a burial, we want to be close to where we perceive our loved one is resting. This grieving is a journey and needs time before we can open our eyes or our minds to a new way of living, to a new way of understanding presence, to a new way of living with our loved ones in our hearts.
‘Gradually, you will learn acquaintance
With the invisible form of your departed;
And when the work of grief is done,
The wound of loss will heal
And you will have learned to wean your eyes
From that gap in the air and be able to enter the hearth
In your soul where your loved one
Has awaited your return all the time.’ John O’Donohue
Perhaps this extract from the ‘Blessing for Grief’ captures something of what Mary was experiencing. Jesus is present with her but she is unable to see him and it is only when she hears her name that her eyes are opened. She is then sent to share the news and earns the title of ‘Apostle’ to the apostles. During Covid, many of us were deprived of being present for the funerals of loved ones and some were even deprived of last ‘good-byes’. We have an advocate in Mary, who wept and waited and was surprised by a reassuring presence of her loved one. Then she was enabled to embrace a new way of living as a disciple who is able to share the good news of fullness of life-resurrection, from an inside experience. I pray and invite you to pray today for all who are living through the painful journey of grief that they will experience the surprise of presence, as Mary did.
Hold my hand, Lord. Walk with me through the loneliness and the valley of my sorrow. Hold on to me when I am too afraid to think about tomorrow. Let me lean on you Lord when I am too weary to go on. Hold my hand Lord, through the night until I see the light of dawn.
Sr. Brigid Murphy CP
Sisters of the Cross & Passion,