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Archive for April, 2014


Harold Copping: Mary Magdalene and Risen Jesus

Harold Copping: Mary Magdalene at the Sepulcher

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Presence

John records how Mary Magdalene goes to the tomb to anoint Jesus’ body but us startled to find an empty tomb. Believing that the body has been stolen, she leaves quickly to alert Peter and John. When the apostles arrive they find the funeral cloths that had wrapped Jesus’ body the previous evening but still they do not believe in the resurrection. They return home puzzled but Mary remains, weeping.

We are equally surprised by life and its turnings, just as Mary is surprised. We also grapple with the reality before us and struggle to understand the mystery that surrounds us. We also give in to our grief and miss the gift of God’s constant presence.

Two angels ask Mary why she cries and she answers, describing her grief. Christ then appears and Mary mistakes him for the gardener until he speaks her name. He reminds her that he is going to the Father and he asks that she deliver this good news to the disciples. (John 20)

We are equally overcome by grief and frustration, just as Mary Magdalene at the empty tomb. We also mistake the open door and the emptiness for nothingness. We overlook the risen Christ and instead we see an ordinary figure in our ordinary lives.

If we spend time today with this and the other three resurrection stories (Matthew 26, Mark 16 and Luke 24) we can compare our own Easter experience to the one recorded for us. Let us consider the gift of our own resurrection. Let us give thanks for our extraordinary lives that we live in our ordinary way. And let us give thanks for the gift of God’s eternal presence.

 

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Absence


mary-and-friends-at-empty-tomb1Tuesday, April 29, 2014 – Absence

Luke’s story of resurrection is longer and more involved than Matthew’s or Mark’s but again we see it is the women who go to the tomb to dress Jesus’ body. They are described as terrified, not of an earthquake, but of the unexpected absence of Jesus’ body. They take in this news delivered by two men in dazzling white who share words of peace, “Why do you seek the living one among the dead? He is not here, but he has been raised. Remember what he said to you while he was still in Galilee”. The facts are plain – Jesus is not in the tomb. The implications are enormous – Jesus’ resurrection will have changed their lives forever. They will never again see the world in the same way. They will never again see others in the same way. They will never again see the empty tomb in the same way.  These early followers of Christ understand that everything has changed now that they have witnessed the Easter miracle. (Luke 24)

If we spend time today with this and the other three resurrection stories (Matthew 26, Mark 16 and John 20) we can compare our own Easter experience to the one recorded for us. As we reflect, let us consider: How do we continue to live as before now that we have been offered the gift of resurrection? What do we change about our behavior now that we have seen the risen Christ? How do we respond to God’s call for us to live in newness . . . now that we have experienced the fullness of the empty tomb?

Tomorrow, the story as told by John.

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empty tomb 2Monday, April 28, 2014 – Rolling Back the Stone

In Mark’s Gospel it is Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome who bring spices to anoint the dead body as they discuss how they will find help to roll back the heavy stone. Their concern shifts to another matter when they see that the tomb stands open . . . and empty. When they enter the tomb the angel, a young man clothed in a white robe, says to them, “Do not be amazed! You seek Jesus of Nazareth, the crucified. He has been raised and he is not here”. Despite these words, Mark tells us, they were afraid. (Mark 16)

If we spend time today with this and the other resurrection stories (Matthew 26, Luke 24, and John 20) we can compare our own Easter experience to the one recorded here for us. As we reflect, let us consider: How do we react when we discover that the stone has already been moved from the tomb? How do we share this experience of the empty burial place? How do we respond to the words that we need not be afraid?

Tomorrow, the story as told by Luke.

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empty tombSecond Sunday of Easter, April 27, 2014

We arrive at the last day in the Easter Octave, our eight day celebration of the Easter event that offers us our own, unique opportunity to look for the risen Christ.  The women approach the tomb intending to anoint his body with funeral herbs and oils. They discover more that they had anticipated.  If we follow these women, we will also discover more than we might imagine.

In the Gospel of Matthew, we read the description of an angel descending with the rumble of an earthquake as Mary Magdalene “and the other Mary” approach the tomb. The women are frightened and the guards “were shaken with fear of him and became like dead men”.

The angel utters the amazing words: Do not be afraid. He is not here. He is risen and gone to Galilee before you.

The women quickly leave the tomb and encounter the risen Christ on their way to deliver the surprising, but wonderful news to the other disciples. The words of peace are repeated: Do not be afraid. Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee. The guards accept a bribe and circulate the story of how Jesus’ followers stole the prophet’s body. (Matthew 28)

If we spend time today with this and the other three resurrection stories (Mark 16, Luke 24, and John 20) we can compare our own Easter experience to the one recorded for us. As we reflect, let us consider: How do we approach the tomb we believe to be empty? Who greets us? How do we react to these words?  How do we share this story of good news with others?

Tomorrow, the story as told by Mark.

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Matthais Stom: Supper at Emmaus

Matthais Stom: Supper at Emmaus

Easter is an eight day celebration beginning on Easter Sunday, running through the Easter Octave and ending on the Second Sunday of Easter. This tradition reflects the joy the early apostles felt as they experienced the new presence of the Risen Christ. Jesus offers us this same experience today. Wishing all those who follow the Noontimes a graced and peace-filled Easter Saturday.

April 26, 2014 – Luke 24:33-49

If we want to acknowledge the gift of God’s presence in our lives, let us first give thanks.

If we want to fully participate in the resurrection journey, let us first give thanks.

If we want the full impact of our own Emmaus experience, let us first give thanks.

If we want to share in God’s Easter hope, let us first give thanks.

If we want to share in God’s Easter joy, let us first give thanks.

And as we give thanks . . . let each of us become witnesses to the story we know to be true.  The story of God’s great love for all of creation, the story of  God’s plan for the salvation of the world.

For an Easter Saturday prayer and reflection, visit the You Are Witnesses post on this blog at: https://thenoontimes.com/2013/04/06/you-are-witnesses/

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Abraham Bloemaert: The Emmaus Disciples

Abraham Bloemaert: The Emmaus Disciples

Easter is an eight day celebration beginning on Easter Sunday, running through the Easter Octave and ending on the Second Sunday of Easter. This tradition reflects the joy the early apostles felt as they experienced the new presence of the Risen Christ. Jesus offers us this same experience today. Wishing all those who follow the Noontimes a graced and peace-filled Easter Friday.

April 25, 2014 Luke 24:13-22 

God is so infinitely good to give us multiple opportunities to see the full measure of the promise held out to us. Jesus is the patient brother who journeys with us even when we cannot see him. The Spirit never abandons her hope for us who live in a world that rejects her consolation and compassion. The goodness of God’s plan brings us many Emmaus experiences in our resurrection journey. Let us ready our ears and open our eyes. Let us admit to our own slowness of heart in accepting what stands before us. Let us put down roots in the word that has been planted within. Let us be glad in the miracle of Easter, and share the good news that Christ is risen in each of us today.

Learn more about the Emmaus experience at the Easter Friday 2013 post on this blog at: https://thenoontimes.com/2013/04/05/slowness-of-heart/

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Easter Thursday 2014


Reubens: The Incredulity of Thomas

Reubens: The Incredulity of Thomas

Easter is an eight day celebration beginning on Easter Sunday, running through the Easter Octave and ending on the Second Sunday of Easter. This tradition reflects the joy the early apostles felt as they experienced the new presence of the Risen Christ. Jesus offers us this same experience today. Wishing all those who follow the Noontimes a graced and peace-filled Easter Thursday.

April 24, 2014 – John 20:24-29

Our culture wants hard facts and raw numbers. It sees humans as targets for marketing rather than reflections of God’s hope in a troubled world. The science of polling and focus groups is our newest religion while belief in miracles, acting in faith, and loving in hope are qualities that are seldom valued.

Today the Apostle Thomas brings us the opportunity to measure what is truly important. Today we are given a chance to determine how well we live out the message of the Gospel. We are asked to look at how well we have become God’s message of hope to the world.

Go to the April 4, 2013 Noontime reflection on the theology of the Apostle Thomas as expressed in his words “My Lord and my God,” on this blog at: https://thenoontimes.com/2013/04/04/my-lord-and-my-god/

 

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April 23, 2014 – John 20:19-23

upper room

Rado Jovar: The Upper Room

Easter is an eight day celebration beginning on Easter Sunday, running through the Easter Octave and ending on the Second Sunday of Easter. This tradition reflects the joy the early apostles felt as they experienced the new presence of the Risen Christ. Jesus offers us this same experience today. Wishing all those who follow the Noontimes a graced and peace-filled Easter Wednesday.

There are many times in our lives when we feel complete and whole, when we want to celebrate life’s goodness, when we want to share the good news we have heard and seen and touched for ourselves. An event causes us to fully understand that we are a small part of an enormous whole. Deep in our innermost core we believe that we bring a unique and necessary hope to the world. We look for a loved one, friend or colleague with who we might share the story of our Easter newness. We throw ourselves into play or work, fully willing to follow the gentle leader who stands waiting before us, saying . . .

 Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.

In our newly-found Easter selves, we step forward to participate in God’s plan.

The disciples work and play and pray with Christ; they see his story unfold before them and still they are startled to see that they have an integral part in God’s plan of salvation. Let us reflect on the Christ’s call . . . and let us determine to be true Easter people who go where we are sent. For further reflection, read the post entitled I send you on this blog at: https://thenoontimes.com/2013/04/03/i-send-you/

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magdalene weeping at tombEaster is an eight day celebration beginning on Easter Sunday, running through the Easter Octave and ending on the Second Sunday of Easter. This tradition reflects the joy the early apostles felt as they experienced the new presence of the Risen Christ. Jesus offers us this same experience today. Wishing all those who follow the Noontimes a graced and peace-filled Easter Tuesday.

April 22, 2014 – John 20:14-18

There are many times in our lives when we do not recognize the Christ who works, kneels or plays beside us. We believe ourselves alone or abandoned. We find that we are overwhelmed with work or emotion. We look for a loved one, friend or colleague who will fill the emptiness.  We throw ourselves into play or work, and all the while we overlook the gentle leader who stands waiting before us, calling our name.

Mary Magdalene works and lives with Jesus for several years and yet she mistakes him for the gardener. Let us consider if or how . . . when or why we look past Jesus when he stands ready to help us. And let us determine to step into the newness and freedom Christ gives us today.  Read the Why are you Weeping post on this blog at: https://thenoontimes.com/2013/04/02/why-are-you-weeping/

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