The Gospel according to John (20:11-18)
Mary Magdalene 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 went and announced to the disciples,
“I have seen the Lord,”
and then reported what he had told her.
Another place that Linda and I were blessed to visit on our recent pilgrimage to the Holy Land was the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Within that large church are the locations of Jesus’ crucifixion (Golgotha), His tomb, and an altar dedicated to St Mary Magdalene on the place tradition tells us that she saw Jesus after His resurrection – the story in today’s Gospel.
The first thing that struck me from our visit was how close those locations were to each other! Without any real reason, I thought that the tomb was some distance from Golgotha. In fact, they are not more than a hundred yards apart. The altar I mentioned is in a different direction, but also, not more than a hundred yards from the tomb. It was an awesome experience seeing those locations and recalling how critical they are to the early stories of the Resurrection that led to the belief of the early Church!
Now that we have completed our Lenten observances, we are now “Easter people”, and we are called to do what St Mary Magdalene did that first Easter day – we are called to share the Good News that we have “seen the Lord”. Now, I’m not saying that we are all to become street preachers or full-time evangelists, at least, not in that way. Some of us may have that gift and if a reader or hearer of this reflection is one of those, then, yes, go and share the Good News just like that!
For the rest of us, we demonstrate that we have “seen the Lord” by the way we live our lives; we do it by the way we live and love and are in community with those God places before us. As a first step as “Easter People”, let us consider whom we meet today that may need a word of hope or an act of love or charity. We share Easter joy by making sure those we meet know that they too are beloved children of God, and worthy of all the dignity that comes with that position. May we see our brothers and sisters today as worthy of love and care, simply because we all share the same Father!
Action for the Day: Think of what it was like for St Mary Magdalene in today’s Gospel – she saw Jesus, but did not recognize Him initially. What is it that keeps you from seeing Jesus in the people you meet today?
If you would like to hear this reflection, click the link below!