Acts 2: 36-41
Therefore let the entire house of Israel know with certainty that God has made him both Lord and Messiah, this Jesus whom you crucified.”
Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and to the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?” Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him.” And he testified with many other arguments and exhorted them, saying, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” So those who welcomed his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand persons were added.
Psalm 33: 4-5, 18-20, 22
For the word of the Lord is upright,
and all his work is done in faithfulness.
He loves righteousness and justice;
the earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord.
Truly the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him,
on those who hope in his steadfast love,
to deliver their soul from death,
and to keep them alive in famine.
Our soul waits for the Lord;
he is our help and shield.
Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us,
even as we hope in you.
John 20: 11-18
But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; and she told them that he had said these things to her.
On this second day after Easter, we find ourselves in a special place in meditating on the Paschal Mystery, which is at the core of our Faith. While we are experiencing the joy and awe of the Resurrection, the sorrow of Good Friday is still fresh, and as we are moved by the events of the Triduum and Easter, we may be reflecting on our own spiritual lives and wondering deep down, “How do I respond to this? How does my life change now because He has died and is risen?”
It is appropriate today to recall the words of St. Peter after the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Just a few weeks prior, Peter had been in a position where he denied even knowing Jesus. He did not know what to do in a moment of testing, but after repenting wholeheartedly, he saw the risen Lord and received the Holy Spirit. He had the courage then to not only associate himself with Jesus, but to proclaim Him as the Savior and give the same message of mercy to the people who were cut to the heart for crucifying Jesus. Though Jesus had died at our hands, it was not too late; because of the Resurrection, the story continues and everybody who desires it can receive the living water of His mercy and the power of His Spirit. Our Church was born that day and we continue to live out what took place on Pentecost through our Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation. And just as Peter exhorted the crowds, we are called to set ourselves apart by embracing Jesus and making Him the Lord of our lives.
Mary Magdalene gives us a perfect example of just how much we can set ourselves apart as we seek the Lord. Though thousands had seen Jesus’ work and heard His words, or been healed or otherwise affected by Him, Mary Magdalene was one of the precious few who followed Him all the way to the Cross. She stood by Him in His agony, watched Him die, and even when she thought it was over, she still rose before anyone else and came to the tomb, continuing to seek Him and longing to give back any way she could. And when she found the tomb empty, she continued to seek Him, even saying she would take His body away herself if the gardener would tell her where He was. Jesus not only met her in her grief and revealed Himself to her, but honored her by allowing her to be the first to see Him risen and the first person charged with the task of spreading the Good News. She is a powerful example and intercessor for us as we strive to make the Lord the center of our lives and follow Him no matter what has happened in our lives or how “hidden” He may seem.
As we meditate on the Paschal Mystery this Easter, we are called to action, both out of repentance and love. We have to look at the Lord’s Passion and Death and realize the destruction that our sins can bring about, and we have to experience genuine sorrow for the ways we have offended God. But through this sorrow we can also experience the mystery and awe of the Resurrection. We can humbly receive this gift we can never repay and be renewed at the core of our being. This renewal will not only bring us new life but will spur us on to seek the Lord daily, to live our lives in His love, and to tell the good news to others.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for the gift of your Death and Resurrection. I know that in this life, I will never be able to comprehend completely the depth of your love for me, but I thank you for it, long to receive it as fully as I can, and to follow you with all my heart. Sts. Peter and Mary Magdalene, please pray for me and help me to follow your example of giving your all for Jesus. May I continue the work of God’s mercy and spread the Good News of the Resurrection to others today and throughout my life. Amen.