Tuesday in the Octave of Easter

Scripture Readings: Acts 2:36-41; Jn 20: 11-18

Why are you weeping, whom are you looking for? When we are in the throes of an emotionally disturbing experience, we don’t appreciate someone coming up to us and asking the reasons for our anguish.  Just leave us in silence.  We can’t and don’t want to explain. This is an experience that can’t be touched by words and reasons.

Of course, we seldom openly weep. We usually prefer to cover up our real feelings and not be exposed. We don’t wear our hearts on our sleeves.  We get busy and contain our feelings.  The roots of the experience sink down to some unobtrusive level where they drain our energy or else erupt in some distorted way.  Apathy and indifference can result.  They have taken away my Lord.  They have taken away my world of meaning and hope, my sense of purpose and the energy it used to give me.

Perhaps there is a point and a grace in asking why are we weeping.  We carry the weight of accumulated sorrows and grieving in our experience.   It may take some time to get to the heart of the matter.  We have to work through the trivial. annoying and really inconsequential.  We also have to unblock all those pockets of self-pity, nursing small injuries, seeing ourselves as victims and martyrs when we just suffered normal bruises in life’s drama.  Indeed, there is a huge amount of life that happens to us and is beyond our control.  Then we move into that area where they have taken my lord away.  Where they have robbed me of what was life-giving and meaningful.  We are then in the area of what is sacred to us.  Of the center of our own being and heart as sacred space.

Here we are often unable to find healing or resolution to losses and suffering incurred and which have left permanent wounds.  Incidents which have been like amputations of necessary parts of our life and soul.  Where we still suffer “phantom pains” which remind us of our loss. Where we feel cut off: from life, others, God, our own self.  Where the pain of our heart lies bare.

Mary Magdalene was the only one who stayed at the empty tomb.  The other disciples all headed back to headquarters to think out their next move.  She kept her own wounds open in her grief in an apparently futile desire to find the body of her Lord.  True mourning and sorrow keeps the heart open, unresigned to a world where loss and death have the last word.  She was there to hear the Risen Lord address her by name, lifting her out of the ambiguity (she did not know it was Jesus) and disorientation of her suffering.  She turned again.  She was cut to the heart. The word spoken to her by the Risen One brought to life the Spirit within her.  The word and mission she was given carried the life of a new communion in God (My Father and your Father, My God and your God) and among my brothers.