By JENNIFER BURGIN
When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary, the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go and anoint him...... On entering the tomb they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a white robe, and they were utterly amazed. He said to them, “Do not be amazed! You seek Jesus of Nazareth, the crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Behold the place where they laid him. But go and tell his disciples and Peter, He is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him, as he told you.’”
The Easter Vigil, April 1998 I entered the darkened sanctuary with a white candle in hand, wearing a pretty lavender dress and matching heels. Tonight our close-knit RCIA group would participate in the Rite of Acceptance. Over the past year, we learned about the Catholic Church's teachings with probing interest. We concluded The Scrutinies with a high level of anticipation. Now the fire of Easter excitement burned! The Holy Spirit penetrated every crevice of our souls; we lived, breathed, and dreamed about receiving our first Holy Eucharist.
My Protestant family members sat in the congregation. Most had never attended a mass before, much less stepped inside a Catholic Church, so they didn't expect such a lengthy Easter Vigil. Seven scripture readings later, followed by hymns and the traditional Litany of Saints, we reached Baptism and Confirmation. When our pastor placed chrism on my forehead, saying my confirmation name Mary Magdalene, peace surrounded my heart. Later when Holy Communion reached my lips joy overwhelmed my converted heart.
At the age of 24, I couldn't believe I waited so long to become Catholic. In some ways I wish I had been born a cradle Catholic. But, then again, I may have lapsed away instead of falling head-over-heels-in-love with the Catholic faith!
The Easter Tomb, Circa 1 A.D Mary Magdalene and her companions entered Christ's darkened tomb with sadness in their hearts and spices in hand ready to anoint Jesus' body according to Jewish burial custom. What did Mary see instead of a corpse wrapped in linen? A young man clothed in a white robe; not just any ordinary man but an angel.
Where did Christ's body go? Did looters steal it for the Jerusalem black market? Where is Our Lord that we loved so much?!
Mary Magdalene experienced her own Easter excitement after hearing the news that Jesus Christ had been raised from the dead. In fact, God blessed her with the honorable task of proclaiming the amazing news to Peter and the other disciples.
Mary Magdalene, although a woman, was highly respected by the community as well as the disciples. No question she was a Disciple herself!
Easter, April 2015 A darkened sanctuary transforms into a lighted one as "The Gloria" is sung in full fanfare. Joyfulness embodies the church from ceiling to floors and from windows to doors. The Lord has Risen! What an incredible occasion for triumph celebration!
The Lenten penance has drawn to a close. Hopefully we changed ourselves for the better, resisting sinful habits and adopting healthy ones. Now we celebrate Easter with a contagious excitement! Catholics throughout the world fill pews to overflowing, singing and praising to the Lord Almighty. How beautiful to witness the smiles, the handshakes, and the hugs. For some people, this may be the only Catholic mass they attend all year long. Let us welcome them with warmth and a hardy invitation to join us again soon....
Who can resist the wisdom embodied in Holy Scripture and the healing power of the Holy Eucharist?!
"On the third day, the friends of Christ, coming at daybreak to the place, found the grave empty, and the stone rolled away. In varying ways they realized the new wonder; but even they hardly realized that the world had died in the night. What they were looking at was the first day of a new creation, with a new heaven and a new earth....." - GK Chesterton, "The Everlasting Man"
This meditation was written by Jennifer Burgin. Please follow her blog: Jennifer's Spectrum of Spirituality