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The Easter Season gives us a chance to get to know the key men and women of the gospels. Of primary importance is Jesus’ mother (our mother too). Although it is not mentioned in the scriptures, common sense would tell us that the first-person Jesus appeared to after his Resurrection was Mary his mother.

Imagine that reunion! Her relief and joy! His love for her.

I shared this reflection on a parish mission when I lived in San Diego. A gentleman came up to me after the talk and told me that he is a poet as well as a professional fisherman. He said he was going to write a poem about the reunion of Jesus and his mother and give it to me to use as I wished. It is called, “Easter’s First Embrace.” I am sure you will agree with me that it is a profound poem.

“Easter’s First Embrace”

Through the Holy Spirit came Love’s Incarnate Light.

Cradled in her loving arms,

The blissful Babe slept in silent night.


Drawn to Jerusalem’s journey, life’s commitment made,

At the foot of the Cross, our Redemption paid.

Only memories of Love’s past, She holds but tattered Remains.

The Struggle with sin dims the Light,

Shames the day into the darkness of night.


“Look what they have done to my Son!”

Immaculate Heart weeping, pierced by evil’s sword.

O Virgin full of grace,

Teach us the power of Love Endured.


Rejoice, Rejoice, the Son is Risen!

“We have seen the Lord!”

Our Father’s greatest promised Morning

Has put an end to our Mother’s mourning.


O dawn of Easter morning bliss!

Jesus greets His Mother’s kiss.

Love to Love in Easter’s first embrace,

Springs forth forever, Salvation’s Grace.


The three people mentioned in the First Reading, from the Acts of the Apostles, are Mary of Magdala, Simon Peter, and John. As we consider each, perhaps you will find a part of yourself in one or more of them.

Mary Magdalene was a remarkable woman. Set free of her “demons” by Jesus earlier, she became one of his most faithful disciples. She was the first of the disciples to visit the tomb after Jesus was buried. Spiritual writer, Kathleen Kichline suggests that it was Mary’s deep grief that compelled her to go to the tomb even though it was still dark. Led by the Holy Spirit, she had the courage to go.


Simon Peter and John the Beloved. Writer Andrew Walker outlines some of the personality characteristics of each:

“Peter the rock on which the church would be built – impetuous, active, enthusiastic. At times badly mistaken but his faults generous and well-intentioned.

John the beloved disciple – quieter, more reflective, profound, and intuitive.”

Peter, the extrovert. John, an introvert. “Initially brought together by Jesus, they are united in the dawning realization that Jesus had truly risen from the dead” (Walker).

The disciples gradually came to the realization that Jesus’ Resurrection is the path to glory, a path that is ours too; that Jesus is the fulfillment of our deepest hopes; and that because of his death and resurrection we can return to our loving father-mother God.

So we can pray with the Psalmist: “This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad!”

Acts 10:34a, 37-43    Psalm 118    Colossians 3:1-4    John 20:1-9

Fr. Max Oliva, S.J.
Easter Sunday, 2021


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