Staying Outside

11 But Mary stayed outside the tomb weeping. And as she wept, she bent over into the tomb[1] Jn 20: 11

You have to give it to John.  He is a master story teller.  He may not have the conciseness and immediacy of Mark, nor the traditional bent of Matthew, nor the gentile perspective of Luke, but he has a sense of imminent presence, of personal, human love of Jesus that only he portrays.

Poor Mary, the boys have gone and she is left seemingly alone, bereft of her Jesus.  She weeps,  she stays, she weeps, she bends, she weeps.  The reality of His absence, His bewildering, excruciatingly painful agony and death, His leaving her, is just so literally unbearable.  She must weep to shed, tear by solitary tear, her overwhelming sorrow, her crushing sense of loss, the immense emptiness that threatens to engulf her.

She has not gone in, she has not seen, she could not bring herself to acknowledge that not only was He gone, but someone has taken Him and she will not even have the closure of caring for Him in death.

Distraught, completely undone, she stands there frozen in time, hoping against hope that this nightmare will reverse itself and that at least His body will be recovered, returned, redeemed.

“What else can I do?  Let me at least look inside.  Maybe there’s a clue to where they have taken Him.  Maybe Peter and John missed something that will help bring Him back.  Maybe,…”

She creeps forward, anxious and afraid, anticipating the worse, praying, pleading for a miracle…some tiny crumb of hope to which she can cling.   The low entrance slopes down into the cave.  “I don’t want to look…”

That’s often me: I don’t want to look.  Jesus seems gone from this God-forsaken world.  Have you noticed how graft and bribery are the reasons behind almost every indictment, every protest, every scandal, regardless of the country about which the story is unfolding.  How the gap between the obscenely rich and the abjectly poor is not only widening but the numbers of the downtrodden is geometrically rising.  How we have consumed our way into climate chaos which will effect generations to come.  How, in spite of the slippery slope of morality which is lauded as the norm in our all-pervasive media, the call for repentance, for metanoia goes unheeded.

God, only you can save us from the sin-filled world which we have created here on your wondrous earth.  We do not even know how badly off we are.  We desperately need Your mercy, the mercy we pray for daily through the body and blood, soul and divinity of Your Divine Son…indeed, please, please have mercy on us and on the whole world.  In You is our only, our true and lasting hope.  Mary, pray that we realize our sinfulness and seek the salvation of Your Son.  May His resurrection from His suffering and death on the cross be our beacon, our promise, our reassurance of His Love and reinforce our faith in His power to overcome.  Amen.  Alleluia!!!

[1] Scripture texts in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

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