I remember when I was on my pastoral internship as a seminarian, while serving at Mass one day and looking out into the congregation to see a woman who was a very well-known and active member of the parish weeping during the Mass. As any of us would, I was concerned that maybe something was wrong and my heart went out to her. After Mass, as I was saying goodbye to people, I asked her if anything was wrong and she assured me that nothing was wrong. So I left it at that, I assumed that perhaps she didn’t want to tell me whatever it was that was bothering her and I didn’t want to pry. I continued to say goodbye, and this lady came back to me a few minutes later and asked to speak to me. She told me that from the time she was a little girl from the time the consecration of the Blessed Sacrament began in the Mass, she often would weep with tears of joy. She didn’t know why, she just did. This story deeply moved me, for as I reflected upon the Mass just celebrated, I was thinking about more logistical things; was everything ready and there, I hope Father’s homily isn’t too long today, I’ve got to go to the schools, many other unnecessary things. Here in our midst, was a woman who so loved the Holy Eucharist that she is moved to tears as our Lord enters the ordinary gifts.
As I reflect upon today’s Gospel, I think of Mary Magdalene, a devoted servant (much like this woman was as a member of the Catholic Women’s League and other ways in the parish) who taught the Apostles a thing or two as she finds the empty tomb, and encounters the Risen Lord. This lady will never know the magnitude of what she did for my faith that day and each and every time I reflect upon that experience. As a seminarian and now as a priest, I look to the people whom I serve and try my best to allow them to lead me to the Lord with a sometimes simple faith. I try to be more attentive to the Lord speaking to me through them. Obviously, I know I have my role, just as the Apostles have theirs, and our Holy Scriptures are given to us by them; but they have accounted here Mary’s role in her encounter with the Lord just as I know I must be attentive to who and how I encounter God through others. This holy woman in my life brought me into a deeper experience of our Lord in the Holy Mass, an encounter that I meditate upon to this very day. Who will lead you to a deeper encounter with the Lord?