Homily for Easter Monday
Sr Anne Morris, DHS
“And there coming to meet them, was Jesus.”
As these days of Easter unfold, we will hear a series of readings about Jesus meeting so many of his friends. Jesus only appears to his friends. We never hear of him appearing to Caiaphas or Pilate to condemn or to blame, or to show how wrong they were.
Notice also that Jesus comes in the office of consoler. In each Resurrection story Jesus is seen consoling someone as one friend consoles another. And the consolation offered meets each person in their particular need: Mary Magdalene’s grief is turned to joy; Peter’s betrayal becomes a deeper bonding; Thomas’s doubt gives way to faith; the disciples on the way to Emmanus find hope in their hopelessness; the fearful ones in the upper room are given a deep peace. Each receives what they need. You could ask yourself the question, do I know what I need?
With the consolation comes a call, a mission. Each is given a job to do. Mary Magdalene ceases to depend on others and becomes a witness through the validity of her own experience. Peter, the impetuous one, who always struggles with his destiny, is given the task of nurturing the sheep and lambs of the community. Thomas moves from the stance of a doubting observer to carrying the message of faith to those who will never be able to touch Jesus for themselves. Do you know your mission?
In these days of Chapter, it is not only answering that question individually but as a collective. Like the men and women of the Gospel, we can only respond and make good discernments, individually and collectively, from a place of consolation. So savour these passages and find yourself in them. Who do you most identify with? Find the experiences of consolation in your own life and savour those also. Ignatius of Loyola recommends that we search for the consolations in our everyday experience and store them up, as a squirrel stores up acorns. The Lord gives us consolation for good purpose; that it may nourish us in the face of difficulties we will encounter. Like the women of today’s Gospel, He comes to meet us on the way. He comes to meet us where we are. The women of today’s Gospel reading would have to first face the scepticism from other disciples. We all know how painful that can be coming from our own brethren. Then there was the determined efforts of the authorities to surpress and rubbish the Good News. Chapter is a precious time to build up and strengthen the Brothers; to know that the Risen Lord comes to his friends and consoles them, meets them on the way, in order to send us out afresh for mission. In the words of today’s psalm “You will show me the path of life, the fullness of joy in your presence”.