May the Resurrection of Jesus permeate our hearts, moving us outward in Easter joy! May we be able to see with new eyes so that we can be renewed in our mission to live as Easter people! May we see beyond the empty tomb, as witnesses to the fullness of life with Christ forever! May we be filled with gratitude that we are able to see and touch the Risen Christ! May we be transformed by the graces offered through the death and Resurrection of Jesus and may it be evident by the way we live our lives! And may we be filled with the peace of Jesus as we work to bring justice and peace, kindness and mercy to our conflicted world! Let us meet in the heart of the Risen Christ! Alleluia! Alleluia! Peace!
©Michele L. Catanese
Note: Next entry on May 8
1. This stained glass window is a photo I took at the church in Emmaus, Palestine. The image captures the ‘action’ surrounding the moment Jesus emerged Risen from the tomb. It shows the terror of the soldiers, the prayerfulness of Mary Magdalene, and Jesus in the center, victorious over sin and death. I chose this because it highlights my statement that the scene was not experienced the same way by all the people present, nor were the emotions instantaneous joy. This stained glass shows that it was a bit of a mixture of emotions and thoughts until Jesus offered His peace to Mary Magdalene by pronouncing her name. (John 20:1-18)
2. This is a painting by Duccio di Buoninsegna called Maesta The Three Maries at Christ’s Tomb which depicts the three women, Mary Magdalene, another Mary whose identity is a little confusing, (in one version she is called Salome, and Joanna in another), and Mary the mother of James, who came to the tomb to pour spices on the body, something they were denied because of the Passover. (Luke 24:1-12) I love the humanness of the women, who are shrinking back a little from the angel, as if in fear. I suspect that most of us would have the same reaction given that they were confused about the body being gone and were not expecting to see an angel: it had to be startling to suddenly be addressed by a heavenly visitor. I love how the angel is pointing to the tomb to emphasize that it is empty, as if to say that its emptiness is all the evidence they should need in order to believe that what Jesus promised had been fulfilled. You can find the painting at http://www.wikigallery.org/wiki/painting_216095/Buoninsegna-Duccio-di/Maesta-The-Three-Maries-at-Christs-Tomb.
3. This is a photo I took while in a boat on the Sea of Galilee in Israel. The water was like glass that morning and it was almost easy to visualize how Jesus could have walked on this water without causing a ripple. I chose to use it here, however, because in the resurrection narrative in the Gospel of John some of the apostles went to Galilee and it was on the Sea that they encountered the Risen Jesus as they fished. (John 21:1-14) Therefore it seemed appropriate to have a photo of the Sea taken from a boat roughly the size of the one they may have been in.
4. This is an icon by Fr. William Hart McNichols called The Risen Lord Appears to St. Thomas. I chose it because earlier I had alluded to sometimes needing to see and to touch in order to believe. Like the apostles we can see and touch the Risen Lord in the Eucharist whenever we want to do so. He is always available to us in His Body and Blood. If you are interested in a copy you can purchase a copy of this icon as a plaque, card, or in a larger format at https://fineartamerica.com/featured/the-risen-lord-appears-to-st-thomas-257-william-hart-mcnichols.html.
5. This is another of my photos, taken near Rockport, Texas. This is said to be the biggest live oak tree in the state, but I chose the photo because it was the closest thing to a canopy of trees lining an area that I could find, to be honest. However, it is a very beautiful place which, when I took the photo, I was seeing for the first time. Indeed it inspired a bit of awe.
6. This is a photo of the iconographer Fr. William Hart McNichols celebrating the Eucharist at the parish were he serves. At the moment when this was taken he was in the midst of the consecration. I chose this because this is the precise moment at Mass when Jesus becomes present Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. The priest has been acting ‘in persona Christi” (in the person of Christ), but now Christ is really present and so He is the center of everything that is taking place. I also think that it is good for my readers to see the gifted man who provides such beauty in the icons that I share in nearly every post.
7. The last icon is the account of Jesus appearing to two disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35). This modern version of a traditional icon is written to tell a story. On the left is the scene of Jesus walking with Cleopas and the unnamed disciple and on the right is Jesus breaking the bread for them at table, an action which opens their eyes to who He is just a moment before He vanishes. Two points: In the story as Luke wrote it, there is no mention of the other disciple being male or female. The iconographer here chose to make this person female. That is not too strange since there are numerous accounts in the gospels which indicate that Jesus had many women disciples. The second point is about the ‘story’ told on the right side of the icon. Jesus vanished right after he blessed and broke the bread because He did not need to be present there in two ways. Once He was present in the bread (and presumably the wine) He only needs to be seen in that one way. He did not leave them when He vanished, but rather He was present as Bread and Wine become His Body and Blood.