Weeping and Seeking

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Recently, the Pope spoke about the fact that man and woman, today, are finding it more and more difficult to weep. In one of his homilies, (8 July 2013, Lampedusa), Pope Francis said that man is living in a globalized world and has fallen into a globalized indifference. The Pope stressed the fact that this globalized indifference has robbed man from the ability to weep. I consider weeping as part and parcel of life. We cannot smile all the time. Also the adage “boys don’t cry” cannot be more wrong. To be able to weep is a gift, a gift which uncovers the outer layer of the heart. Tears show what there is in the depths of one’s heart, tears lead to repentance, true repentance, which in turn leads to real freedom.

In the gospel of John, Chapter 20, we read that Mary of Magdala went to the tomb where they had buried Jesus. However, Jesus was not there. While the disciples went back to where they were staying, Mary stayed outside the tomb.They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him”(v. 13). She was weeping because she couldn’t find Jesus. How many times the same thing happens to me? How many times do I lose sight of Jesus? The most unfortunate thing in such instances is when I am so preoccupied with my daily chores that I don’t realize that I have lost sight of my Saviour. I am so busy going from one thing to the other that I don’t have time to stop and be still.

Mary of Magdala was weeping because someone had taken Jesus away. She didn’t, like the other disciples, go back to where she was staying. No! She stood outside the tomb, weeping and desperately looking or possibly waiting, for Jesus. Maybe in her heart, she held to the words of the prophet Jeremiah, “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jer 29:13) In fact, Jesus was right there beside her. He spoke to her but she did not recognize him; she thought he was the gardener. St. Augustine used to say that he was afraid that Jesus will pass by and he might not recognize him. What can block our sight from seeing Jesus? What can block our spirit from recognizing Jesus?

“I will be found by you, declares the Lord …” (Jer 29:14). Jesus calls Mary by name and immediately the scales fell down from her eyes and she saw Jesus and acknowledged him as her Teacher “Rabboni”. What a beautiful encounter! Mary didn’t give up; she continued searching for Jesus. And Jesus honoured her aspiration … He called her by name!

My prayer is that during this time of Lent, we may never give up and continue searching for Jesus. May the Lord bless us with the gift of tears, tears that lead to true repentance. May God grant us the grace to hear Him calling us by name.

Carmen Mangion