By: Sr. Roberta Trepp, DC
John 20:11-18 shows Mary Magdalene at the empty tomb, weeping in grief. Jesus had died, and now was missing from the tomb. Angels appear and ask her why she is crying. She doesn't understand why Jesus' body is gone. Then another character asks her why she is crying. Not recognizing Jesus, she responds to someone she assumes is the gardener. Only after Jesus calls her by name does she recognize Him.
Now, I've experienced situations of not recognizing somebody...maybe it had been a while since I saw the person, or they did something different with their hair...but the one story that I will never forget was one Sunday when I was lector at Mass. There was a large family sitting in the front, as someone in their family was being baptized that day. After Mass, a man from that family came up to me and spoke to me like he knew me. I didn't recognize him, but chatted with him. It took a while, but I finally recognized him - he was one of my managers from work! He was dressed much nicer than he did at work, and seeing him "out of context" threw me off.
Mary did not expect to see Jesus alive...she had just seen him crucified! But once she REALLY knew who she was speaking with, she didn't want to let go. But Jesus gave her a mission and sent her to tell the others the good news.
Daughters of Charity are called to see and serve Christ in the person of the poor. It's not always easy...it's not where one expects to encounter Christ, our teacher and master. On the surface, one sees the brokenness...the vulnerability...and the physical attributes. None very inviting, huh?
But think about Jesus...the betrayed, belittled, brutalized, broken...still the teacher and Lord.
It's about seeing the heart, seeing with eyes of love...and serving with love. The poor have much to teach us. Jesus has much to teach us through the lives of those living in poverty...if only we recognize Him.