REFLECTION FOR TODAY
April 6, 2021
By Fr. Andrew Ibegbulem, OSA
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.’” Jn. 20:17
Mary of Magdala was one of the first persons to whom Jesus appeared. She was deeply devoted to Him, especially because of the great mercy He offered her when He forgave her manifest sins and expelled seven demons from her. After He had done that, Mary became a devout follower and was one of the few who remained faithful to Him, even as He hung upon the Cross.
When Mary came to the tomb to anoint Jesus’ body in accord with Jewish custom, she discovered the body of Jesus was gone. And when Jesus appeared to her as she was weeping, she didn’t immediately recognize Him, for He had His new glorified body.
Mary was certainly a committed follower of Jesus, but how was it that she failed to recognized Jesus when He first appeared? It was a matter of faith. Even though Mary loved Jesus her faith in Him was immature, as it was with the disciples. When Jesus uttered her name “Mary” her eyes were opened. The word of God penetrated her heart, allowing her to know the resurrected Jesus. When she recognized Him and seek to embrace Him. But rather than embracing her, Jesus said, “Stop holding on to me…” Why would Jesus say this?
Even though Mary’s attachment and devotion to Jesus was beautiful and holy, it wasn’t yet perfected. She wanted her Lord Whom she had come to know and followed. She wanted her former relationship with Jesus to be returned to her. But for this reason, Jesus said, “Stop holding on to me…” Jesus wanted much more. He was telling her that her relationship with Him was soon to change for the better.
No longer would He simply be her earthly companion; instead, He would soon live within her, dwell within her very heart, become one with her, and be her Bridegroom for eternity. But this could only happen once Jesus ascended to the Father in Heaven to complete His divine mission of salvation.
At times, we also seek favors from our Lord that are purely temporal. Though we do need to trust Him for “our daily bread,” meaning, for all the basic necessities of life, we must realize that the gifts God wants to give us far surpass anything in this world. The supernatural gift of grace, the gift of the Indwelling of the Most Holy Trinity, the gift of oneness with our Lord is what we are made for and is the end goal and desire of our Lord.
Reflect, today, upon these words Jesus spoke to Mary: “Stop holding on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father.” But do so with the knowledge that, now, Jesus has indeed ascended to the Father. Therefore, He now invites us all to cling to Him as He reigns in Heaven. Ponder the deep desire in the heart of our Lord that you cling to Him with every fiber of your being. He wants to dwell within you, to become one with you and to transform you in every way. This holy union is now being enjoyed for all eternity by Saint Mary of Magdala, and this same gift is being offered to you. Cling to Him and never let go, for this will be your eternal joy.
My risen and ascended Lord, You now reign in Heaven in perfect glory and splendor. Draw me into Your glorious life and invite me to cling to You with all my heart. I invite You, dear Lord, to come and make Your dwelling within me so that I can hold on to You forevermore. Jesus, I trust in You.