Raised from ‘Death’ to New Life

How or When Have You Been Raised From ‘Death’ to New Life?

Jesus is raised from the dead! Most of us have experienced times when things have been grim: we have lost a significant other… our treasured hopes have been destroyed… we have been let down, even betrayed… and it seems like the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel is an on-coming train!

Generally these painful times pass and life returns to a certain equilibrium – until our next crisis or disaster! This, of course is the pattern, the ebb and flow of human life… ‘death’ and ‘resurrection’.

When we look back and reflect, we can often recognise that something good emerged out of those times of darkness… that we have, in fact, journeyed through a ‘death experience’ to new life! These ‘light-bulb’ moments are gifts: they are  ‘Easter’ or ‘Resurrection’ moments… blessings that give us reason to shout, or sing, or say, or perhaps even whisper “Alleluia”!

The Gospels tell us that suffering and death do not have the last word. When Jesus died on the cross this seemed like the end of the hopes and dreams for both Jesus and his followers, but this confusion was soon replaced by joy. As you complete your journey with the Stations of the Cross, call to mind the Good News that Jesus rises from the tomb to a new life with God. Resurrection is a new way of being with God, for risen life is life with God.

The Gospel writers ponder on the meaning of this mystery that lies at the heart of Christian experience. They present us with four different accounts.

Spend some time praying with the Good News presented to us by Matthew:

After the Sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And suddenly There was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightening, and his clothing white as snow. For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified.  He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples. Matt 28: 1-8
  • Read the story through slowly… imagine the scene
  • Now become part of this story… imagine yourself at the empty tomb
  • Open your mind and heart to the wonder of Jesus’ resurrection, to the truth of his presence and action in your midst

Moments in the life of Mary MacKillop

Saint Mary MacKillop shows us what it means to live in the light of the Resurrection.  She was a woman of hope and trust, an inspiration to those around her.  She sees the blessings hidden in the cross, and her life lives out of the light of the resurrection. Mary invites us to do the same…

God is good and has brought light and help when all was very dark…Mary MacKillop 1899

Prayer

Jesus, your death upon the cross and resurrection transformation reminds me of the transformative possibilities in my own life. Give me the courage to let go of my resistance to change, may I be ever open to the break-through of new beginnings so that I can be open to the delight of surprise.


Download the print version of this reflection (PDF)

This is our final reflection from Stations of the Cross: A Journey with St Mary of the Cross MacKillop – Valerie De Brenni  (Introduction to this reflection: Mary Ryan rsj)

© 2012 Trustees of the Sisters of Saint Joseph of the Sacred Heart

Available for purchase @ $7.95 from Mary MacKillop Place Bookshop, Mount Street, North Sydney, or online


 

Image: ‘Resurrection’: Mary Ryan rsj. Used with permission.

It Seemed That All Was Lost

Have you ever experienced a loss that seemed like a disaster, yet, in time, proved to be a blessing?

To Jesus’ friends and followers, his death and burial in a cave were the absolute opposite of what they had fondly expected. In those moments, it seemed that everything that he had promised had been a giant hoax. Their hopes were dashed.

Through the gifts of hindsight and our faith, we know differently, and in this month of April, we reflect on the events of the first Holy Week, through a different lens from theirs. Unlike those who stood by, shocked and disheartened as they witnessed Jesus’ burial in a borrowed tomb, we know, and will celebrate again at Easter, that he rose again ‘on the third day’, and that his memory lives on in the lives of his present-day followers.

After a lifetime committed to following Jesus, and ever-mindful of the Cross in her life, Mary MacKillop’s burial bore a striking resemblance to that of Jesus. Her tombstone was also provided by a friend, Joanna Barr-Smith. Mary, of course, did not physically rise from the tomb, but her memory too lives on today. Mary’s spirit has captured the hearts of countless people who continue to be inspired by her story of love, courage, compassion, forgiveness and trust in our God who never stopped providing for her.

This month, we are invited to spend some time reflecting on the scene of Jesus’ burial, and to stand in solidarity with those who have lost hope.

Station 14: Jesus is Laid in the Tomb

A suggestion:

  • First: reflect upon what is happening to Jesus in this thirteenth Station
  • Next: ponder the Moments in the Life of Mary MacKillop
  • Finally: reflect upon how this links with your own life
So Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn in the rock.  He then rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb and went away.Matt 27:59-60

Gently, Joseph of Arimathea wrapped the body of Jesus in a linen cloth and placed in on a ledge, in a tomb that was probably a burial cave cut from the soft limestone rock. To protect the body from wild animals a large rock is placed at the entrance of the tomb. Those who love Jesus mourn their loss: it seems that all is lost.  The vision of God’s reign, so central to the life and ministry of Jesus, seems now a distant dream.

Moments in the life of Mary MacKillop

Mary MacKillop died in Alma Cottage, North Sydney on 8 August, 1909. Initially she was laid to rest in the Gore Hill Cemetery but in 1914 her remains were transferred to the Mary MacKillop Memorial Chapel at Mount St, North Sydney convent where she was placed in front of the altar of the Blessed Virgin. Joanna Barr Smith paid for the beautiful marble tomb that has become her final resting place. This has become a place of pilgrimage as thousands of pilgrims come each year to visit this sacred place.

God is good and has brought light and help when all was very dark.   Mary MacKillop 1899

Moments in My Life

  • If you knew that this was your last day how would you spend your time?
  • What would you want to say to the significant people in your life?

Take a moment to reflect in silence upon these aspects of your life.  We tend to take life for granted and live in an unreflective manner. The death of a loved one can pull us up short and help us to re-prioritize what is really important. We come to a deeper understanding of what gives life meaning.

Prayer

Jesus you call me to be open to every aspect of my life, to be aware of its beauty, its gift.  You invite me to live with intention, to embrace each day. Constantly draw me toward all that is good, so that through my actions others may experience a glimpse of your goodness.

Forgive me Lord for the times when apathy in given free reign and I become blind to all that life holds. Encourage me to ponder on life’s meaning. Help me to graciously accept the process of ageing and to find wisdom in the passing of time. May I finally delight in your presence and find my rest in you.


Download the print version of this reflection (PDF)

Stations of the Cross: A Journey with St Mary of the Cross MacKillop – Valerie DeBrenni

© 2012 Trustees of the Sisters of Saint Joseph of the Sacred Heart

Available for purchase @ $7.95 from Mary MacKillop Place Bookshop, Mount Street, North Sydney, or online

 


 

Images:
Station 14: Mary MacKillop Memorial Chapel, North Sydney
‘Jesus is buried’: Mary Ryan rsj. Used with permission.