1. Introductory prayer
Jesus died and Jesus’ disciples feel the weight. And yet there is love. Mary Magdalene comes from that love to the grave, and then the two pupils. They do not walk, but run! God the Father, through Christ, give me the strength, the courage to go there, where it seems that I do not have to go, but You are calling me there, to be the witness at the empty tomb – to me and others – to start living in freedom.
2. Reading – Listening: The Gospel according to John 20,1−9 – the Empty tomb of Jesus
The Empty tomb of Jesus
Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. 2 So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”
3 So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. 4 Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first.5 He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, 7 as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. 8 Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. 9 (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.)
3. Thoughts on the Gospel
- Easter. Church exclaims: Christ has risen! Every song, every prayer repeats: Christ has risen! Invitation to joy: Sing joyfully oh dear Christian! All should rejoice: Rejoice, heavenly Mother! The Sky echoes hymns and all the earth joyfully cries. Everything that has breath, praises the Lord, Hallelujah!
It was Good Friday. The Church was in silence, invited to the adoration of the Cross, to the awakening of the noblest feelings of pain and compassion for the crucified Lord. At the contemplation and the silent kiss of the cross my heart could open to those thoughts of abandonment in which a man yells: My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Watching the suffering of my Savior touched my heart, and spread the understanding on all human suffering. It was the gift of Good Friday.
- The same heart, which tested the depths of sadness, anxiety, abandonment and death is now singing hallelujah and rejoices the victory of Christ. Such rapid change. As the sudden eruption of a volcano. Or as a woman who has gone through labor pain, but now in tears of joy, because the child was born. Overflowing joy. But perhaps someone today has afflicting worries, because for a long time he or she did not get a salary and does not know how the take care for the family. Should they also rejoice? Somebody else might be in mourning for the death of the beloved. Should they sing the Hallelujah? Maybe some student cannot pass the exams, the year will go. Is he also invited to rejoice in the Easter morning?
- Yes, no one is exempt. No worry, no sadness cannot be more powerful than today’s joy. For Christ has conquered death, which is the cause of worries, sadness, pain, tears. Letter to the Hebrews says, ” and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage” (Hebrews 2.15).
- Let look at the Jesus’ disciples: they fear the Jews, are sad, feel guilty because they left Jesus. Peter’ soul is in pain because of his evasion. Mary Magdalene and other women weep because of the loss of a loved one. But the Easter morning, changes everything. Heart is initially upset by the news that the tomb is empty, followed by running, search, and expectation. Suddenly the encounter with the Risen One. First the wife’s, Mary Magdalene, then Peter, two students on the road to Emmaus and others in the evening.
Jesus now performs the job of the Comforter. To some he appears so that they can see Him, touch his wounds, and eat with Him. Others, for example. Mary Magdalene, he presents himself by the fact that he calls her by name. To some he is revealed through the signs: two students recognize him in the breaking of the bread. Especially one of the pupils can identify the presence of the risen Christ through the signs.
This is the disciple whom Jesus loved, as the Gospel says. It is enough to Him to see a small sign, and already says in his heart: it is the Lord. We are all disciples, and Jesus loves us. The Good Friday consolidated this awareness. The more we live in it, easier will be to recognize the Lord’s comforting presence in our lives. Let our hearts and our voices also sing in these days: Christ has risen, alleluia!
4. Meditation – thinking
About everything I have read and what has touched me, I am thinking now. I let my thoughts also touch my heart. Think:
- What is the question, if I got an answer to it, would further open up my heart to Easter morning?
- Disciples are afraid, they are tortured by guilt, hurt by their own actions, are sad. Christ sends a ray of hope on it and sends it also to me. Where does this light of hope showing me the way?
- God works in my life so, that many times I do not understand anything, but then happens the best. Where does Christ invite me in the near future to do something that normally I would not, and I should do it with trust in Him?
5. Personal Prayer
In the next moments of silence, I talk about of this with Jesus. I tell him what I think, what I feel, what I want. I ask him for the grace that I need for … (make your conversation with God)
6. Contemplation – Quiet moment with God
Now I let silence to be in me. I am simply present in God, as He is quietly present in me.
Perhaps from this silence I hear God’s speech, which invites me perhaps in thanksgiving and worship, or to open myself and accept him in my path life and work, maybe He gives me the courage to continue searching for…
When I walk into a personal relationship with God, he changes me, makes me more loving and encourages me to the concrete action, which is….. (write down your insights for concrete action)
8. Prayer at the end
Jesus, you also call me by name, are showing me the signs. You call me to see and believe, even if I do not understand. That I am new, fresh and reborn. God, Eternal Love, thank you for the call, which brings me fresh air, warm hug, good relationships, hope that remains, freedom and love which keep me alive.
9. Review of my prayer meditation or reflection
This is my view on what was happening in me at the time, I spent praying. In my reflection, I can help myself with the following questions:
- How was I feeling when I started praying?
- What happened during the prayer?
- What feelings and thoughts could I detect in myself?
- How did I feel at the revelations, which I had during my prayer?
- What did I learn about myself, about God, about his attitude towards me and others and me to him and others?
- How did I finish my prayer?
- What did I receive for my everyday life?
- In the end, I can write the lessons, findings and insights. I can write also, where I had problems, they may have great value in learning about my relationship and myself with God. They can also help to find a more appropriate way of prayer for me.
- Then I thank the Holy Trinity. If I pray with my family or in the community, friends, I can share with them what I felt in this prayer. By prayer for one another, you can support yourself throughout the week.
Lectio divina meditations are published and adapted with permission from the Jesuits home – ignacijevdom.si