“They went away quickly from the tomb, fearful yet overjoyed, and ran to announce this to his disciples.” (Matthew 28:8-9)
In the work of racial reconciliation and healing, I have had many instances of being fearful.
I’ve feared that deepening the dialogue between descendants of people who’ve perpetrated racial harm and historically harmed communities might lead to less healing, and more harm. I’ve feared that there is no hope for healing when racialized anger seemingly grows as a result of trying to address it.
Faced with these anxieties, it’s very welcome to read in today’s Gospel that when Mary Magdalene left the tomb, having been told by the angel to spread the word that Jesus had risen, she was both fearful and overjoyed.
I can imagine the mix of feelings Mary Magdalene must have experienced at that moment. She had a powerful vision of an angel, and seeing this must have been astonishing. She must have also had doubts and fears that others would think her vision unbelievable, maybe even crazy.
Recently, I felt this kind of fear during a webinar I hosted. The educational institution where I serve was updating our community about some historical research being done about our boarding school past. We started receiving some negative and hurtful comments during the live webinar.
Seeing these comments quickly took me to that place of despair. But when I took a moment to breathe and focus, I was rekindled. I remembered the many other webinar guests who were grateful, interested, and supportive of the work. I remembered that healing is still possible even in the face of opposition.
Jesus represents that ultimate place of healing. He meets Mary Magdalene on her way. She is moved to embrace him at his feet. She falls on her knees in a way that surrenders herself to his comfort, his presence, and she does what is needed as his disciple. She overcomes her fear of opposition, her internal doubt, and embraces the hope of healing, grace, and salvation.
It’s an important reminder for me to do my best to live up to her faith — even when I’m fearful.
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