The Gospel according to John (20:1-2, 11-18)
On the first day of the week, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning, while it was still dark, and saw the stone removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them, “They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they put him.” But Mary stayed outside the tomb weeping. And as she wept, she bent over into the tomb and saw two angels in white sitting there, one at the head and one at the feet where the body of Jesus had been. And they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken my Lord, and I don’t know where they laid him.” When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus there, but did not know it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” She thought it was the gardener and said to him, “Sir, if you carried him away, tell me where you laid him, and I will take him.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni,” which means Teacher. Jesus said to her, “Stop holding on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am going to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Mary of Magdala went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord,” and what he told her.
Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, grant me a heart that seeks to encounter you, and in finding you, desires to share you with others.
Encountering Christ: Growing up I always had the presence of strong, assertive, influential women in my life. I can remember many times looking to a woman, whether it was my mother, older sister, a female relative, or other woman for guidance and direction. In my culture this sometimes created tension because like many other cultures, societies, or organized structures men hold the places of power and influence. Unfortunately, we still struggle with our roles in this world when we should focus more on our purpose.
In today’s gospel, the account of May Magdalene brings to light how God reminds us that in His plan for salvation, women have the same purpose as men, to reveal hope and joy in our risen Christ. In the moments leading up to and on the other side of this experience we can only imagine that Mary and the other disciples all had and functioned in different roles in their community. Regardless of what they did or the variety of circumstances under which they existed they were all called to bring the Good News to the world.
Fast forward two thousand plus years and we still struggle with who should have what role or what is fair and equitable regarding the roles of women and men. And although we have made many strides toward honoring and respecting issues concerning gender, we still have a long way to go. However, despite the advances and setbacks we experience in this world we must keep our minds and hearts focused on the bigger picture. We are all here for only a short time and we will all walk through the door of death and leave behind our mortal bodies, but our spiritual journey will continue.
We are not souls in a body that like a rocket traveling to space will shed part of itself in order to propel to a higher altitude. Our bodies and souls will always coexistence in some way, shape, or form. As we grow into our unique God given roles as women and men, daughters and sons, co-heirs to the kingdom of God we can share in the radiance, light, and love of God, through His Son Jesus and assume our place in His heavenly mission to bring as many people as we can to the foot of the cross. There, together, we can see true love and in three days experience the awe and wonder of Mary Magdalene when she realizes who stands before her.
As we continue to develop into the women and men, we are called to be may we never allow the limitations of our physical existence to hold us back from our spiritual trajectory. We are all on a journey home. Let our efforts in this life include everyone so as to not exclude anyone from the love and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Closing Prayer: Lord, may we see your divine love as it is manifested in so many ways here in our human nature. With the guidance of the Holy Spirit may we stand before you as you call us each by name.
Action for the Day: Spend some time at the entrance to the tomb of Jesus. Meditate on the many emotions and thoughts of our sister Mary Magdalen. See where this takes you today as we all seek to fulfill our purpose in bringing the Good News to our corner of the world.