“Hold my hand!” That’s what I used to tell my kids when I suspected trouble arising or danger around. If I held on to them, I knew they were safe, and they knew it, too. To hold something means wanting to keep it near: it is important to us, we do not want to lose it! When Thomas was 5 years old I lost him for about 10 min at Reston Town Center. My heart was pounding, my mouth was dry, I was frantic! I told him to hold my hand, to stay with me and my mother. How did we get distracted? Suddenly, he was gone! Even after I found him, I was still shaken up.
Holding also implies fear, fear that something may change, that we might lose that person, a treasured thing or some wonderful memory that we want to hold on to forever. The last time I visited my mother she gave me her favorite earrings to wear but I am afraid to lose them. It is a great gift with much sentimental value. I want to hold on to them forever.
Holding on can also be exhausting! I can hold things for a bit, but there is a moment when I need someone to help me carry the weight physically and spiritually. Many of us hold on to hurts, resentment, and unforgiveness, and this heavyweight can destroy us, sending us to places where hope is scarce.
Thankfully, we know someone who can hold our weight, our fear, and our hand. We are taught to “hold on to Jesus” so that our existence, our salvation, and our journey on this earth and in eternity continues to move us toward salvation. Thank you, Jesus, for holding our hands!
The passage that we are exploring about the word hold shows us Mary holding on to Jesus. She does not want to let him go, she has found him, her rabbi, and she is holding onto his feet, not letting him move. She is fearful of losing him again. But wanting to hold onto him at that moment becomes an obstacle to the plan God has, not only for her redemption but for all humanity. She first needed to let go of her fear, of her sadness, for her sake and for the rest of the world! She needed to believe in Jesus’ words. He will ascend and after that, the Father will send us the comforter, the Spirit, to whom we all can hold in our lives forever.
It was thanks to Mary’s letting go of her fears and having faith in Jesus’s words that today we can hold tight to the presence of the Spirit in our midst. Thanks to Jesus, we have the assurance that God is holding our hands, leading us to truth and eternal life. Thank you, Mary, for being faithful, for holding on for a bit, and for letting go when it was needed. Sometimes we must be like Mary, holding tight and letting go, so that not only ourselves are blessed and free but others can find the good news of the resurrection!