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Oct 04th
Home Sections The Daily B.R.E.A.D. April 14, 2009 - Tuesday Meditation (Jesus - Only a Prayer Away)
April 14, 2009 - Tuesday Meditation (Jesus - Only a Prayer Away) PDF Print E-mail
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Monday, 13 April 2009 04:33
"What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer."

Acts 2:36-41

Psalm 33:4-5, 18-19, 20 and 22

John 20:11-18  But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb; (12) and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. (13) They said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?" She said to them, "Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they  have laid him." (14) Saying this, she turned round and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. (15) Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom do you seek?" 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." (16) Jesus said to her, "Mary." She turned and said to him in Hebrew, "Rab-bo'ni!" (which means Teacher). (17) Jesus said to her, "Do not hold me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brethren and say to them, I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God." (18) Mary Mag'dalene went and said to the disciples, "I have seen the Lord"; and she told them that he had said these things to her.
Meditation by Tom Bannantine, S.J.

T he joy that we experience at Easter is enhanced by the gospel accounts of the joy felt by those who were privileged to see the risen Jesus on Easter day.  Today, St. John directs our attention to Mary Magdalene who, according to the gospel accounts, was the first person to see Jesus after his resurrection.

There is a tradition in the Church that even before his appearance to Mary Magdalene Jesus visited his mother Mary.  But the gospels are silent about such a visit.  However, when I contemplate this gospel reading about Mary Magdalene I always think also of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  What joy she must have felt on seeing her risen son!  The lives of the two Marys offer an interesting contrast: the sinless Virgin Mary and the repentant sinner Mary Magdalene.  And yet they are very much alike in their love for Jesus.  Their love of Jesus bound them in a friendship reserved for the very closest  of his followers.
During her life after she met Jesus and was forgiven her sins, Mary Magdalene became one of his closest followers. She proved her love and her loyalty over and over again.  At the time of the passion and death of Jesus, Mary and the other holy women followed him through all the terrible events that led to Calvary. They stood grieving at the foot of the cross as Jesus suffered and died.  And during the time that Jesus was in the tomb, Mary and the others learned the location of the tomb and prepared spices and perfumed oils for the body of Jesus.  In all of these events Mary Magdalene demonstrates how totally devoted to Jesus she was.  And Jesus rewarded her devotion with his appearance to her on Easter morning.
The scene of the meeting of Jesus and Mary Magdalene in the garden is one that has always moved me very much. It reveals Mary Magdalene as very human and very devoted to Jesus. 
When Jesus appears Mary is weeping.  She is terribly distraught that the body of Jesus has been taken away, and is frantic to try and find out where it is.  In the early morning light and with the tears in her eyes, she fails to recognize Jesus.  She mistakes him for the gardener.  Here her words reveal her devotion and her concern to find the body of Jesus so that she can clean and prepare it for a proper burial.  She is determined to find and take possession of the body because of her great love for Jesus.  And then we have the very tender moment when Jesus reveals himself to Mary.  He speaks her name.  But I think that he speaks her name in such a way and with such inflection that Mary recalls other occasions when Jesus called her by name, and she knows that this is Jesus.  Immediately her tears are turned from sorrow to joy.  Immediately she believes that Jesus is risen and lives.  And then she does something else that is very human.  She is so beside herself with joy that she wants to hold on to Jesus and never let go. 
Jesus has to gently tell her to let go of him.  But then he also gives Mary an important task.  He makes Mary his messenger and sends her to his disciples in Jerusalem to announce his resurrection. 
And Mary is a wonderful messenger because she is so full of joy and so clearly proclaims her belief in the resurrection.
The contemplation of the scene in the garden adds greatly to the joy that I experience at Easter.
Supplementary Reading
My Friend Jesus

But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the sovereign Lord my refuge. – Psalm 73:28

P laying piano in Grandma's parlor was a favorite pastime. I spent hours reading old hymn stories. One of my favorites was "What a Friend We Have in Jesus." Joseph Scriven wrote the words to that hymn, in 1855, to comfort his mother. His own life was beset with grief after losing two fiancés to illness and death. Despite his grief, he knew where to turn when life overwhelmed him. His legacy of faith continues to strengthen many today:

What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.

This song remains in my spiritual memory. What a privilege—my friend Jesus is only a prayer away.

* * *

Identify a friend in your life who models for you what you picture Jesus to be as your friend. Take time to tell Jesus today why you so value him as your friend.

* * *

Note:  This excerpt was taken from the "Power for Life Daily Devotional"


PRAY as if everything depended on HIM. ACT as if everything depended on YOU.


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Quote of the Day

If a man will begin with certainties,he shall end with doubts;but if he will be content to begin with doubts,he shall end in certainties.-- Sir Francis Bacon, 1561-1626