Monday of the Octave of Easter
The women “ran to announce the news [of Jesus’ Resurrection] to his disciples.” In doing so they set a precedent. Form the very beginning of Christianity, it has been the role of women to announce and sustain the faith in ways different from, but no less compelling, than Peter’s exhortation in the First reading.
Christianity spread throughout the Roman Empire quietly and effectually chiefly through the instrumentality of women. Is it surprising that today in Latin America it is the women who flare up fires of Pentecostalism in the dead wood of a Catholic tradition? Mothers generally plant the seeds of faith in their children. And there are those among us today who remember how the nuns in Catholic schools nurtured that faith.
In our secular society today women are encouraged to be men and men women. We must pray that women, particularly young women, will recognize and affirm their unique vocation and hear Jesus repeat: “Do not be afraid! Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee [the world], and there they will see me.”
Grace: To be glad and rejoice intensely because of how the Risen Lord transforms our life.
Text: Jn. 20:1-9
Reflection: Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, the author of The Little Prince, was a pioneer of commercial aviation. He flew in the Spanish Civil War and World War II. He loved flying. And he loved writing about friendship and love. Because of this, he was nicknamed the ‘winged poet’. In his book Airman’s Odyssey, de Saint-Exupéry wrote about love transforms us – how, when we encounter love, it refashions our lives. Love invites us to contemplate a new horizon – the place where our hearts encounter the heart of the beloved. Love incites us to contemplate and to journey towards that horizon because intimacy is beyond fear. As de Saint-Exupéry states, “Love is more than gazing at each other. It consists in looking outward together in the same direction.”
The biblical accounts of the Resurrection point us toward this reality. The part that love plays in these stories is extraordinary. In the Gospel of John, Mary Magdalene is the first one to encounter the Risen Lord. He transformed her life. She loved Jesus deeply and became his disciple. At the foot of the cross, she witnessed Jesus’ death. In the garden outside the tomb, she was the first one to behold Christ after the Resurrection. Nobody could visit the tomb on the Sabbath because the journey would be a violation. The Sabbath is our Saturday, so it was on Sunday morning that Mary went to the tomb. She went very early. She went to the tomb as soon as she could. It was still grey dark when she went because she could no longer stay away.