(Jn 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.
The resurrection account in all the four gospels have similarities and elements that are unique. Perhaps the mystery was too great for early followers to comprehend that different facets of the account are needed to form a picture of what really happened. But one thing for sure, the role of Mary Magdalene cannot be discounted. This woman who exhibited quiet strength and patient endurance in the face of her Master’s demise has been rewarded with the honor of encountering the Risen Lord first. She in turn will bring this good news to the apostles of the Lord.
And this is love’s reward, to see and experience magical moments with the beloved that will never be repeated again. Mary Magdalene could not control herself from grasping that moment in her hand. She wants to preserve that moment and own it forever. But Jesus Christ told her to share it with His brothers who are still in the dark of His resurrection. That moment with the Risen Lord may be hers, but it is not for her to keep.
Fr. Paulson V. Veliyannoor, CMF.