Daily Thought For April 14, 2020

Easter & The New Life

Mary Magdalen is sad and confused. She has seen the grave and found it empty and not desecrated. She cannot understand what has happened, so she calls the disciples, who are also bewildered. Then she sees another person who, she thinks, may possibly be the gardener. Not until she hears his voice does she realize that it is Jesus himself. This failure to recognize Jesus is, in itself, remarkable, but it is consistent with a theme that recurs again and again in the accounts of the Resurrection. The two disciples on their way to Emmaus are joined by the Lord, but they, too, fail to recognize him. It is only in the breaking of bread that their eyes are opened; but at the moment when they recognize him, he disappears. Such events make it clear that Jesus is not just someone like Lazarus or the young man of Naim who has returned from the dead. If he were, recognition after an interval of only two days would hardly constitute a problem. But Jesus does not simply take up his life again where he left it on Good Friday. He lives a new life, yet he is the same Jesus. It is only when the heart sees him that the eyes can recognize him. This becomes fully apparent in the further conversation between Jesus and Mary Magdalen. His calling her by name alerts her and enables her to know him. The Cross is forgotten now. She replies: “Master!” and expects everything to be as it was before, but she is disappointed. “Do not touch me”, the Risen Lord says to her (perhaps a better translation would be “Do not try to hold on to me”) because I have not yet ascended to my 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” (Jn 20:17). What does that mean? After the happy encounter on Easter morning, Mary Magdalen wants nothing more than to return to the former familiar status quo, to leave the Cross behind her as though it were just a bad dream. She wants to have “her teacher” as she had had him formerly. But that conflicts with what has transpired. No one can have Jesus as “his teacher” while disregarding the Cross. He has been exalted to the Father and is now forever accessible to everyone. He can be touched only as one who is with the Father, the Risen One. He can be touched only if we seek him at the Father’s side, if we let him lead us on our way. “To touch” has now become “to worship”.

Ratzinger, J. (1992). Co-Workers of the Truth: Meditations for Every Day of the Year. (I. Grassl, Ed., M. F. McCarthy & L. Krauth, Trans.) (pp. 128–129). San Francisco: Ignatius Press.

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