In today’s Gospel reading, we hear about Mary Magdalene meeting Jesus for the first time after Jesus had died on the cross. In a recollection that I attended during the Lenten Season, Fr. Manoling Francisco, SJ, gave a very interesting talk about making the resurrection a present reality.
Fr. Manoling talks about how Jesus shatters all of Mary Magdalene’s concepts about life and death. With Jesus’ rising from the dead, God’s infinite and unconditional love conquers sin and death. God’s love is then seen as the most powerful thing.
Fr. Manoling then went on to discuss how we should be bearers of the message of the resurrection. He says that this happens whenever and wherever we respond to situations, keeping in mind God’s great love for us. In this way, the resurrection is not just something to look forward to at the end of our days but we make it a present reality.
He then shared a touching story about a woman named Myrna. Fr. Manoling was conducting a retreat in the US at one time and one of those attending the retreat was Myrna. At one point in Father Manoling’s talk, he talked about forgiveness and by this time, Myrna started to cry. As he went on with his discussion, Myrna started to sob more loudly to the point that the retreat got disrupted.
Fr. Manoling then decided to ask Myrna why she was crying. Myrna responded by saying that she remembered her mother. She then related the story of her kuya (older brother) who lived in Samar (a province in the Philippines). One night, her kuya worked overtime and as he was coming home from work, a drunk man stabbed him to death for no reason at all.
The whole family of Myrna was in shock… and angry. The man was eventually caught and put behind bars.
One night, during the wake, as the rest of the family was still grieving and hurting, Myrna and her family noticed that her Nanay (mother) was missing. They looked all over for her Nanay but could not find her. Finally, as they went around the place, they found their Nanay in the prison or jail where the man who had killed her kuya was being held. She had forgiven the man who killed her son and had brought him “mainit na kape” (warm coffee) and Skyflakes (a saltine biscuit brand in the Philippines).
True, it is hard to be as forgiving as Myrna’s Nanay but we are all called to make the resurrection a present reality as we live our lives from day to day. By ourselves, it may be impossible, but with God’s grace, we can help remind people by our actions that Christ is truly risen.