Daily Reflection – 7/22/2020
On the first day of the week, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning, while it was still dark, and saw the stone removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them, “They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they put him.” But Mary 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, “Rabboni,” 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 of Magdala went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord,” and what he told her. (John 20:1-2, 11-18)
Mary Magdalene knew Jesus as a man and was witness to His numerous miracles and very powerful teachings yet they were not enough for her to recognize Him. She was caught up in her emotions about Jesus and could not recognize him in her grief.
There is an interesting parallel here to our lives. We tend to view Jesus through our eye glasses. His presence is often defined by the experience of our lives and often that prevents us from truly knowing Him.
We may say we know Jesus yet we may not recognize Him especially when life becomes difficult and hard, and not easy to accept and understand. The Savior of the world and Master may be so near us yet we do not recognize Him. He comes in all sorts of ways, in lowly guise and not as one of the world’s powerful and great ones. He comes to us through the most painful situations and at times even from the brokenness and woundedness of those around us.
Our understanding of what the world should be and our vulnerability to the values of our material world provide a barrier towards our recognition of God and the acceptance of His will. We cannot see Him in our adversities, troubles and afflictions. We are so preoccupied in looking for Him that we get lost along the way. We are like the Jews of His time who expected the Messiah to be in a bright shining armor who will place them on top of the world.
Today, God is asking us how well we know Him. He wants to know if we will ever recognize Him should we encounter Him on the boulevard of broken dreams.
The person who knows God follows His will out of His love for Him just like Mary Magdalene. Knowing God is not cerebral but personal and experiential. Knowing Him is not simply trusting Him but living in daily fellowship with Him even amidst adversity and persecution. It is obedience founded on love. That is why, one who claims to know God yet chooses who to obey and which precepts to obey within His church cannot truly be His follower. One who is hostile to his/her fellow does not really know God. One who is wrapped up within themselves and engages in self-aggrandizement betrays the words of Jesus to follow Him in our lives.
Today, let us look deep into our hearts and ask ourselves how well we know our God. Has God’s love for us been perfected? Has it accomplished its very purpose and has it reached its end in producing obedience to His request that we love Him above all and our neighbor as ourselves?
Prayer of The Day
“Jesus, I want to follow you wherever you go. Help me to live for you.”
You see, Mary, like all of Jesus’ followers only knew Him as God on earth; theydid not know Him as God in heaven. They only knew Him from a limited perspective, they did not know Him in all His glory. They did not know His power over sin and death, and how there were still so many things that He came to do. They did not have the understanding of how He came to suffer and die for all of us, and to be risen in victory over sin and death. They were holding on to what they knew, and by doing this they were placing limits on God. They were bringing God down to their level and fitting Him into something that they could grasp. What they needed to do, and what we need to do in our lives, is let God be God.