An offering with Mary of Magdala (John 20:11-18) Lord, you saw me desolate there, you read my heart, you spoke my name, you gave me a mission to tell the others. And my life was changed for the rest of my days and all eternity. If sometimes it feels like having to wait for ever, cherish our loyalty and give us living faith. Amen. Alleluia. Tom Shufflebotham SJ
Entering into prayer
Choose a way to enter into prayer from earlier in Lent or any method that you prefer.
Today's Scripture (John 20: 1-9)
Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, ‘They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.’ Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went towards the tomb. The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead.
Food for thought
Easter has come, the central feast of our year; we have been making ready for it since Ash Wednesday, six and a half weeks ago, with an increase in intensity over the last two weeks, and then the mounting drama of Holy Week, and especially of the Sacred Triduum, just ended. We shall be celebrating the feast for the next seven weeks, so we might in our prayer ask to be shown what it means.
Suggestions for prayer
Perhaps today’s gospel is the way into the meaning of it. What you might do is to imagine yourself accompanying that brave woman, “Mary the Magdalene” on her lonely walk through the darkness to the empty tomb. Try to imagine what she is feeling as she sees that “the stone has been rolled away”. Then notice that the next thing she does is to “run” (why is she doing that?). And to whom does she run? “Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved” (why does she go to them?); and she has a message for them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb and we don’t know where they have put him”. As you pray, you may notice that “we”: were there other women with Mary?
Then the evangelist’s camera, which is very restricted, with hardly ever room for more than two parties, focuses on “Simon and the other disciple”; and now you might watch them as they go; and at the same time, if you look very carefully, you can see that Mary is also running with them, though perhaps at a distance.
At all events “the two of them ran” (there is a lot of running in this story, you notice), but the beloved disciple got there first, which is why we all think of him as a younger man; courteously he does not go in, but “stooped and saw the grave-cloths lying”. Next, watch Simon Peter reaching the place (is he out of breath?); and he actually goes in. And what does he see? “the grave-cloths lying”, which we had already seen through the Beloved Disciple’s lens; but there is an addition:
“the sweat-cloth, which had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the other grave-cloths, but rolled up, apart, in one place”. Only then does the other disciple go in – “and he saw, and he came to faith”. Now the evangelist adds an explanation: “for they did not yet know the Scripture, that it was necessary for Jesus to rise from the dead”
How are you going to respond today?
Why did the Beloved Disciple come to faith at that moment? What do you believe about the Resurrection? What difference might it make to your life, do you think?
Image for the day
What do you see in the picture?
Can you imagine what it was like for the disciples?
Imagine the scene, and hold the resurrection in your heart.
Examen (review of prayer)
As you pray your examen today reflect on the meaning of the resurrection to you in your life of prayer and your deeds.