DAILY CATHOLIC     EASTER SUNDAY     April 4, 1999     vol. 10, no. 65


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    INTRODUCTION      "Getting to the Heart of the Matter" is what Sister Mary Lucy Astuto pinpoints in every issue when she takes a common sense approach to living our faith with her practical columns.

          Her special Easter column today treats Mary Magdalene and the extent of her love for Our Lord. Yet, in her humanness she was blinded to Who He really was after His resurrection - mistaking Him for a mere gardener until He spoke her name. Sister points out the God knows all of us and calls each one of us by name. Are we listening? Do we hear and recognize Him when He calls us? It's something to ponder as you read her special Easter message today in her column HE IS RISEN AS HE SAID.

          Her column provides effective, vital insights into our faith and ways of fulfilling God's Will every day in every way. You can visit Sr. Lucy at her web site for Heart of Mary Ministry at http://www.heartofmaryministry.com or you can reach her at Srmarylucy@aol.com by e-mail.


          Forty days of Lent are now over and we, as Catholics - as Christians - have the inestimable joy of celebrating the resurrection of Jesus. He conquered sin and death and made it possible for us to go to Heaven.

          What love God has for us! His love was proved by His Passion and Death. "Greater love than this no one has that he lay down his life for his friends," Jesus said.

          I love Easter! The smell of the lilies, the spring refreshing colors, the Easter stories told us in Scripture!

          There is one story in particular that affects me deeply. I always weep when I consider it! Not out of sadness but rather sheer understanding of how it could be! It is the Scripture passage of the Mary that went to the tomb early Easter morning to finish tending (washing, etc.) the body of Jesus. Remember that the Jewish Sabbath began with sunset on Friday (Good Friday) and ended Sunday morning. The strict Jewish law was observed by faithful Jews. Certain works were forbidden during the Sabbath time, therefore, the followers of Jesus were rushed to bury the body of Jesus before sunset Friday evening.

          So here comes the faithful disciple, Mary, still grieving deeply over what had happened to her Jesus. Her DEEP love for Jesus did not caution her with practicality. She hurried quickly to the tomb not thinking about how she was to handle the soldiers at the tomb. What was she to say to them to convince them of her charitable intent? How was she to roll back the stone in front of the tomb? Wasnít it much too big for her to move by herself?

          But great love never worries about those things. Maryís passion drove her to tend to her Jesus. Her love would find a way. "Donít get in my way!" might have been a driving mode.

          We know the story! When she arrives at the tomb, the soldiers are gone and the stone rolled away. She judges the worst. Her grief prevented her from remembering what Jesus had said. She thinks that the body of Jeus may have been stolen. Her grief deepens. She weeps harder than ever. What have they done to her Jesus? Her eyes clouded with tears, she notices a man she judges to be the gardener. He says to her: "'Woman, why are you weeping? 'Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him. If you, sir, know, please tell me and I will take Him away!'" (Even now my eyes are welling with tears! How I can identify with Mary! How I understand how she is feeling!)

          Then the "gardener" says one word which changes everything. He says her name: "Mary!" It was the way He said it. She had heard that loving tone before. It was when He said her name that she recognized Him.

          God know our names, also. Do you hear Him say your name with such love and tenderness? It is the same for you and me. The sheep know the voice of the Shepherd.

          Be filled with joy this Easter! The Master calls your name. He knows you. You are His.

          Happy Easter, my friends in Jesus. We have a right to hope! God loves us. Jesus lives! Amen!

          God bless you!

April 4, 1999       volume 10, no. 65


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