Sunday, April 20, 2014
Sixth Sunday of Lent
Acts 10:34a, 37-43
Psalm 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23
Colossians 3:1-4 or1 Corinthians 5:6b-8
When my friend Nita’s husband died unexpectedly a year ago, she felt what Mary of Magdala must’ve felt when she first entered Jesus’ empty tomb.
“I realized that everything I had believed in in this world was no longer going to work for me,” Nita recalled.
Nita and I met recently during a spiritual retreat. On the first morning, the two of us had a chance to talk about why we were seeking renewal.
Nita’s story was intense and, in fact, still freshly unfolding as we spoke. It had been only months since she’d lost her husband — who also was her soul mate and business partner — of more than 30 years.
Nita had grown up in a Catholic family that hardly practiced the faith beyond the children’s Baptism and first Communion. Indeed, many family members had been vocally critical of the Church, so it was easy for her to fall away.
Now, with her world suddenly shaken apart, Nita began grasping for some meaning in her life. I could hardly believe her urgency, obviously searching desperately for a defined path.
After a few months of “dating churches,” she decided to go to the Catholic church nearby. She’d been away for 40 years, so it was with trepidation that she went into Mass. But she fell in love right away.
Our retreat took place only a few weeks after that experience. When we first talked, she said she wasn’t ready to go so far as to receive the Eucharist. But the next evening at Mass, as I went forward to receive the body of Christ, Nita was right in front of me.
In the Easter Gospel, Mary searches desperately for Jesus in the tomb. “They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they put him,” she cries.
But how swiftly Jesus comes to those who leave the tomb to seek him with such desire.
Like Mary, Nita was scarcely past her grief when she experienced the elation of her new life with Christ.
This column is offered in cooperation with The North Texas Catholic of Fort Worth, Texas.