Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Gospel for Resurrection Sunday April 8, 2012

John 20:1-18
Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him." Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went toward the tomb. The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the cloth that had been on Jesus' head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. Then the disciples returned to their homes.

But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. They said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?" She said to them, "They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him." When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?" Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away." Jesus said to her, "Mary!" She turned and said to him in Hebrew, "Rabbouni!" (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, "Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, `I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'" Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, "I have seen the Lord"; and she told them that he had said these things to her.

1 comment:

  1. When Mary Magdalene discovered the empty tomb, first she ran to share the news with Simon Peter and the disciple whom Jesus loved, then returned to the tomb with the two disciples. When the other disciples “had returned to their homes” Mary remained weeping and continued to look at the place when Jesus’ body had been lying. Rather than leave the tomb to return to her home Mary chose to surrender to her grief, she allowed herself to look into the depths of her sorrow. Her heart, like the dark rock of Jesus tomb, was broken, open and empty.

    And something surprising happened. From the depths of this dark moment new light arose, light that Mary Magdalene first experienced as “two angels in white.” Mary continued to be present to her experience naming it exactly as it was, “They have taken away my Lord and I do not know where they laid him.” She engaged it and questioned it and gradually her consciousness developed until she came to understand that her relationship with her “Rabbouni” was transformed from physical to spiritual. She understood that although she could “not hold on to” Jesus, still he was somehow present in relationship with her.

    Simon Peter and the disciple whom Jesus loved saw only the grave clothes, the remains of physical existence, in the otherwise empty tomb. Mary Magdalene, who arrived at the tomb “early on the first day of the week,” saw something more. She arrived while it was still dark and gradually dawn arose; at first she did not understand but gradually new light arose in the darkness of her mind, she realized (it was revealed to her) that although Jesus was no longer available to her physical experience, her relationship with him continued in the nonphysical realm. Death could not steal her teacher, her Rabbouni, from her.

    I believe John’s account of the Resurrection of the Lord is a narrative unveiling of the development of human consciousness and the capacity to move from despair to hope, to “see” something more. Even as Jesus consented to the present moment (from the beginning of his ministry consenting to his mother Mary’s instruction to do something to provide wine at the wedding in Cana to his dreadful moment in Gethsemane consenting to his Father’s will rather than his own) and in so doing was freed from the conditions of life and of death (the burial cloth that had been on his face was rolled up), so too was Mary Magdalene transformed by her consent to the present moment. By engaging the reality of her desolation Mary Magdalene was available to experience the seed of consolation hidden therein. The eyes of her heart were opened and she could “see” beyond the visible realm of ordinary experience. And so it was that Mary Magdalene was the first disciple to “see” the Risen Lord.