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When Hope Dwindles

April 6, 2021   Tuesday in the Octave of Easter (Lectionary: 262)

Reading I   Acts 2:36-41
On the day of Pentecost, Peter said to the Jewish people,
“Let the whole house of Israel know for certain
that God has made him both Lord and Christ,
this Jesus whom you crucified.”

Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart,
and they asked Peter and the other Apostles,
“What are we to do, my brothers?”
Peter said to them,
“Repent and be baptized, every one of you,
in the name of Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of your sins;
and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
For the promise is made to you and to your children
and to all those far off,
whomever the Lord our God will call.”
He testified with many other arguments, and was exhorting them,
“Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.”
Those who accepted his message were baptized,
and about three thousand persons were added that day.

Responsorial Psalm   33:4-5, 18-19, 20 and 22
R. (5b) The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Upright is the word of the LORD,
and all his works are trustworthy.
He loves justice and right;
of the kindness of the LORD the earth is full.
R. The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
See, the eyes of the LORD are upon those who fear him,
upon those who hope for his kindness,
To deliver them from death
and preserve them in spite of famine.
R. The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Our soul waits for the LORD,
who is our help and our shield.
May your kindness, O LORD, be upon us
who have put our hope in you.
R. The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia   Ps 118:24
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
This is the day the LORD has made;
let us be glad and rejoice in it.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel   Jn 20:11-18
Mary Magdalene stayed outside the tomb weeping.
And as she wept, she bent over into the tomb
and saw two angels in white sitting there,
one at the head and one at the feet
where the Body of Jesus had been.
And they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?”
She said to them, “They have taken my Lord,
and I don’t know where they laid him.”
When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus there,
but did not know it was Jesus.
Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?
Whom are you looking for?”
She thought it was the gardener and said to him,
“Sir, if you carried him away,
tell me where you laid him,
and I will take him.”
Jesus said to her, “Mary!”
She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni,”
which means Teacher.
Jesus said to her, “Stop holding on to me,
for I have not yet ascended to the Father.
But go to my brothers and tell them,
‘I am going to my Father and your Father,
to my God and your God.’”
Mary went and announced to the disciples,
“I have seen the Lord,”
and then reported what he had told her.

By Melissa Velez 

On this Tuesday, we find Mary Magdalene weeping outside Jesus’ tomb. As I re-read this familiar Scripture, the view outside my own window is cold and gray. Mist is falling and light is feeble, and it’s the sort of sight I imagine Mary encountered that lonely morning as she knelt on hard rock and let the tears fall.

I am plunged into personal memories of similar moments, kneeling outside the tomb of my own dreams, when I had faith in no one and I was sure no one had faith in me. I have felt as I imagine Mary did at that moment: floundering and small, the future she envisioned disappearing into the darkness of the tomb.

Despite the miracles she had witnessed with her own eyes in the recent past, her hope dwindles.

The Jesus she thought she knew lays still behind a rock it takes several men to move; who will save her people now?

It’s at this opportune moment, both in Scripture and in my own life, that Jesus appears. 

Right in the midst of sorrow and fear, Jesus commissions Mary to tell the others that He has risen. As is typical, this was not a passive decision on Jesus’ part.

The longer I think about it, the more I ponder: what does this mean for me?

It means several things.  First, that often the solution to my own sorrow and fear is to get up. The best way to move on is to get busy. Secondly, it means that Jesus believes in me, not only as a disciple but as a woman: someone to be trusted, someone to get the job done.

That Jesus would entrust the news of His resurrection to a woman was unbelievable for that time, since Jewish law did not formally acknowledge the testimony of women. He would have been more than familiar with this practice. 

Yet Jesus had such faith in women that he purposefully turned the common narrative on its head

and entrusted the testimony of the millennia to a woman of low birth, a common sinner from Galilee.

Reflecting on this, it is a reminder that when I am at my lowest, Jesus is still trusting me to spread the Good News. Furthermore, in a special way my womanhood is integral to this mission.   He needs me to spread the Good News to a world that desperately needs reminding of the value, strength, and capabilities of women. Even when I am vulnerable, weak, or afraid, I am still a woman who is beloved and trusted by God. 

Like Mary Magdalene, I hope to live up to this calling.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Melissa Velez is from Southern California, born and raised, and a current Cincinnati, Ohio transplant. She has also lived in Portland, Oregon and Salt Lake City, Utah. A teacher by education, she now works in social services as a client advocate at St. Vincent de Paul. She is a lover of all things beautiful and educational, most especially poetry, the performing arts, and travel (goal: visit all 50 states, 30 more to go!) Three things she is constantly craving: sushi, matcha lattes, and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. She has written for NET Ministries, LifeTeen, and The Catholic Woman. Find more about her here.

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