Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Gospel text for Sunday of the Resurrection, 20 April 2014

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.
Reflection   “I have seen the Lord!” What more world changing words could ever be spoken than Mary Magdalene’s?       “I have seen the Lord!” 
When we walk with Mary Magdalene through the gospel’s collective story of Jesus’ passion, death and resurrection one thing is obvious; her faith and devotion were unshakable. Mary did not run away when the soldiers captured Jesus, although the other eleven disciples did. Mary did not deny her relationship with Jesus, although Peter, who vowed to follow Jesus even to death, denied knowing him three times. Mary stayed and watched and waited as Jesus was crucified, taken down from the cross and was buried. 

I believe Mary stayed because her faith was audacious and as a result the eyes of her heart were open;  she could see beyond the blood and gore of Jesus’ suffering and death. The eyes of her heart were open and Mary could see beyond Jesus’ limp body being taken down from the cross, wrapped in linen and laid in a cold stone cave. Because the eyes of her heart were open, in the morning of the first day of the week Mary could see beyond the empty tomb, she could look into the face of death and ‘see’ life.

Mary Magdalene was the first to see with the eyes of her heart, which is to say, Mary was the first disciple to embody and articulate spiritual consciousness.  And so the risen Christ sent her to be his first messenger. Mary Magdalene was the first apostle, the first one sent to be the revelation of the wisdom that, “all is not lost in death.” In Mary’s words, “I have seen the Lord.”

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