Called by Name

Homily for Tuesday in the Octave of Easter

Every time I hear this passage from the Gospel of John, I always find myself intrigued by Mary Magdalene thinking that Jesus was the gardener. It makes me think about the ways in which I often times fail to recognize Jesus standing in front of me or, better yet, how Jesus sometimes disguises Himself in my life. Maybe that can be something that each of us thinks about this morning. How do we fail to recognize Jesus or how does Jesus disguise Himself in our midst?

This Gospel reading for this morning is a continuation of the one that was proclaimed on Easter Sunday. Remember how Peter and John had run to the empty tomb and found only Christ’s burial cloths laying there. In this passage, we return to Mary Magdalene, who was waiting outside the tomb weeping. She believed that Jesus’ body had been stolen, perhaps by the gardener or the Roman guards or whoever. Then Jesus simply speaks her name, revealing Himself to her. Mary Magdalene didn’t recognize Jesus standing in front of her until she heard his voice – until Jesus called her by her name.

Jesus is the same way with us. He is personal with us. He desires that deep, intimate connection with each one of us because in fostering that relationship we are better able to hear His voice. When we are in relationship with Him, we are able to see His presence all around us and in those that we encounter. We fail to see Jesus, we fail to recognize Him in our midst when we aren’t giving our relationship with Him the time and effort that it deserves.

So, this morning, let this be a wakeup call. All of us need to do better in our relationships with Jesus. Even if we have a good prayer life, there is always room for improvement. May we ask God for the grace today to be able to deepen our relationship with Him so that we can more easily recognize Him in our midst, so that we can see Him even when He is in disguise. 

Painting: Christ and St Mary Magdalen at the Tomb by Rembrandt. Wikimedia Commons. Used under Public Domain license.

Published by Fr. Tom Pringle

Priest of the Diocese of Orlando. Parochial Vicar at Holy Family Catholic Church, Orlando.

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