Sunday, April 4, 2021
Reflection by Katie Garbarino
Today’s Gospel finds Mary of Magdala arriving at Jesus’ tomb in the dark and finding that the stone blocking its entrance has been rolled away. She runs off to find Peter and another disciple, and tells them, “They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they put him” (John 20:2). This experience, coming on the heels of the devastating days immediately preceding it – Christ’s passion and death – must have absolutely terrified and baffled them. As the Gospel says, they “did not yet understand the Scripture that [Christ] had to rise from the dead” (John 20:9).
This passage got me thinking about doubt and fear. Oftentimes, these emotions are fueled by a lack of information, a lack of faith. Surely, if Mary of Magdala, Peter, and the other disciple had fully understood the miracle of Christ’s resurrection, their experience of doubt and fear would have been replaced with great wonder and joy! In examining my own life experience, far too often I have succumbed to doubt and fear instead of trusting God’s plan for my life.
Last April, I lost my job thanks to the pandemic. Instantly, I was filled with doubt and fear: Would I be able to get another job in my field at the age of 59? Who would want me, and did I even desire that? If not, what would I do instead, and how would I ever replace the income I had previously earned? Would we lose our home? I felt like a failure, a loser. I won’t lie: I allowed myself to wallow there for a while. Like Mary, Peter, and the other disciple, I felt defeated and terrified for the future.
Eventually, my attention was refocused on the most important lesson that my faith in God has taught me: He is in charge, and He has a plan. Eventually, the Holy Spirit guided me to pursue a second career in real estate. I’m now doing something that both challenges me and brings me great joy!
What’s the lesson in all of this? Fight the inclination to give in to doubt and fear when faced with an uncertainty in life. Instead, CHOOSE joy! CHOOSE to have faith in God’s plan for your life over doubt and fear. Remember, even when things looked darkest for Jesus’ disciples, God was already at work – and ultimately He defeated death in order to bring us new life. God will never let you down. And don’t forget to pray. I heard a saying once that has stuck with me: if you’re going to worry, don’t bother to pray; and if you’re going to pray, don’t bother to worry! Happy Easter! Alleluia!