April 5, 2021
Happy Easter we read in sacred scripture from John 20: v.17 Jesus said to her, “Stop holding on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am going to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”
Stop holding on to me, let me go, tell my disciples I have been raised, wow, what an incredible experience Mary Magdalene had, and at the same time you see why she wanted to hold on!
Mary of Magdala is most likely the first person Jesus appears to, and the best part of the story is that it was she, Jesus’s dear friend and not the apostles. The apostles were hiding, frighten, scared, but not Mary Magdalene, she went ahead to go and anoint Jesus’ body, and she was not afraid! She was deeply devoted to our Lord, especially because of the great mercy He offered her when He forgave her apparent sins and expelled seven demons from her. After He had done that, Mary became a devout follower and was one of the few who remained faithful to Him, even as He hung upon the Cross. Mary was not afraid; she knew in her heart who loved her and who forgave her. It is amazing how many strong women in the history of the Church were not afraid to go forward with whatever the need may have been in that time and place of Church history.
And so, on the first day of the week, the Sunday after the Crucifixion, Mary came to the tomb to anoint Jesus’ body in accord with Jewish custom. But when she arrived, Jesus’ body was gone. And when Jesus appeared to her as she was weeping, she did not immediately recognize Him, for He had His new glorified body. But when Jesus spoke her name, Mary, she recognized Him. But rather than embracing her, Jesus said, “Stop holding on to me…” the question we all might ask, why would Jesus say this?
Even though Mary’s attachment and devotion to Jesus were beautiful and holy, it was not yet perfected. She wanted her Lord Whom she had come to know and followed. She wanted her former relationship with Jesus to be returned to her. But for this reason, Jesus said, “Stop holding on to me…” Jesus wanted much more. He was telling her that her relationship with Him was soon to change for the better. No longer would He simply be her earthly companion; instead, He would soon live within her, dwell within her very heart, become one with her, and be her Bridegroom for eternity. But this could only happen once Jesus ascended to the Father in Heaven to complete His divine mission of salvation. For all of us as well, Jesus is for all of us, not just personal relationship but a communal relationship, we belong to the Church a family, and Jesus is our head and director.
At times, we also seek favors from our Lord that are purely temporal. Though we do need to trust Him for “our daily bread,” meaning, for all the necessities of life, we must realize that the gifts God wants to give us far surpass anything in this world. The supernatural gift of grace, the gift of the Indwelling of the Most Holy Trinity, the gift of oneness with our Lord is what we are made for and is the end goal and desire of our Lord.
Today let us reflect, upon these words Jesus spoke to Mary: “Stop holding on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father.” But do so with the knowledge that, now, Jesus has indeed ascended to the Father. Therefore, He now invites us all to cling to Him as He reigns in Heaven. Ponder the deep desire in the heart of our Lord that you cling to Him with every fiber of your being. He wants to dwell within you, to become one with you and to transform you in every way. This holy union is now being enjoyed for all eternity by Saint Mary of Magdala, and this same gift is being offered to you. Cling to Him and never let go, for this will be your eternal joy.
Let us pray: My risen and ascended Lord, You now reign in Heaven in perfect glory and splendor. Draw me into Your glorious life and invite me to cling to You with all my heart. I invite You, dear Lord, to come and make Your dwelling within me so that I can hold on to You forevermore. Jesus, I trust in You. Amen.
I hope and pray you to have a wonderful Easter Season and go out and tell the Good News, that Jesus has risen from the dead! Alleluia, Alleluia!!
Peace and all good,
Brother Ed, OFM