Our patron, Stephen, is called the ‘proto-martyr’, or first martyr, of the Church. But if we look at the meaning of the Greek word, ‘martyr’, it means ‘witness’ in English. So the broader meaning of the word ‘martyr’ can mean to witness to Christ, regardless of whether we lose our life doing it or not. That would make Mary of Magdala the First Martyr because of what she saw there at the tomb on Easter morning.This does not mean that she believed in the Resurrection yet. In fact, our reading from John says that she ran to the apostles and said, “They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they put him.” So she is still looking for the dead body of Christ. She is looking with love, however, and will be rewarded for it. Mary is also relating her experience to the apostles, the Church, and contributes to the collective consciousness of what God is trying to tell them that first Easter day.
We are rewarded too, when we search with love. None of us knows everything there is to know about God. We each have a very limited experience of who He is and what He desires from us. But look at what Mary does, she takes what little she knows, the body of Christ is missing from the tomb, and carries this information back to the community. Here, together with the apostles, they can search anew for the living Christ. Together again, they find the evidence of the Resurrection, and John, the beloved disciple, sees the empty tomb, and believes.
How blessed we are when we search for Christ together. I believe we find, like the first disciples, that Jesus appears in the midst of us. He said that when two or three gather in His name, He is there in their midst. Let us gather together and share our experience of the Risen Christ. I know this may feel awkward for Catholics, but it is not that hard for people who go to Mass together. All one needs to say is, “What do think of that homily today?” or “Did you enjoy the music today?” Or, better yet, make a statement and be a little vulnerable. One can say, “Fr. Ed sure was long-winded today.” Of course, then all listening will reply, “Yes, but it was worth it. Did you hear that one point about sharing our faith together?” Now we’re off to a great discussion.
As we share our faith, Christ is present. He wants to walk through walls for us, to assist us and console us. May this Easter Season be for all of us a time of renewal and growth in our faith. May the Risen Christ Himself, bless you and fill you with His Joy! Alleluia, Christ is risen indeed.
Mercy of God Devotion
Please check the bulletin for the Novena to Divine Mercy which continues this week until this coming Sunday, Divine Mercy Sunday. It is a great feast and celebration of Jesus’ mercy for us. Please come if you can and enjoy the consolation that comes from singing the Chaplet of Mercy along with other prayers that place all of our needs in Jesus’ hands and heart.
Pope Benedict on the Resurrection
Faith in the Resurrection of Jesus says that there is a future for every human being; the cry for unending life, which is a part of the person, is indeed answered. Through Jesus we do know the ‘room where exiled love lays down its victory’. He himself is this place, and he calls us to be with him and in dependence on him. He calls us to keep this place open within the world so that he, the exiled love, may reappear over and over in the world…God exists: that is the real message of Easter. Anyone who even begins to grasp what this means also
knows what it means to be redeemed.