Saturday, April 2, 2016

The Glory & Cross Connection

Today is 11th anniversary of the death of Pope St. John Paul II. One of my favorite teachings from him is his catechesis on the Virgin Mary being the first person to see the resurrected Jesus (find it here). Here is a powerful passage:

"Indeed, it is legitimate to think that the Mother was probably the first person to whom the risen Jesus appeared. Could not Mary’s absence from the group of women who went to the tomb at dawn (cf. Mk 16:1; Mt 28:1) indicate that she had already met Jesus? This inference would also be confirmed by the fact that the first witnesses of the Resurrection, by Jesus’ will, were the women who had remained faithful at the foot of the Cross and therefore were more steadfast in faith. Indeed, the Risen One entrusts to one of them, Mary Magdalene, the message to be passed on to the Apostles (cf. Jn 20:17-18). Perhaps this fact too allows us to think that Jesus showed himself first to his Mother, who had been the most faithful and had kept her faith intact when put to the test. Lastly, the unique and special character of the Blessed Virgin’s presence at Calvary and her perfect union with the Son in his suffering on the Cross seem to postulate a very particular sharing on her part in the mystery of the Resurrection."

From this insight we can gleam the glory & cross connection: There is a corollary - those who were faithful to Christ at the Cross were the first to witness his glory. The Virgin Mary stands as the ultimate example by her presence at the cross and her absence at the tomb. Because the Apostles did not understand or go to the cross, they were not the first to see the risen Jesus.

Brother and sisters, we can draw the same connection in our own spiritual lives. Because of Jesus, our sufferings united to him will lead us to a share in his glory! This gives us so much hope...

"... and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if only we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him" (Romans 8:17).

"But rejoice to the extent that you share in the sufferings of Christ, so that when his glory is revealed you may also rejoice exultantly" (1 Peter 4:13).

+ Fr. Luke Mary Fletcher, CFR
Yonkers, NY
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