Happy Easter Everyone!
After a beautiful Easter Triduum, way too many Cadbury Mini Eggs, and a few days away (well mostly away) from the internet, I want to respond to the Gospel reading from yesterday. I find this reading extremely powerful, and it reveals so much about our identity as humans, and God’s plan of love. Let me just quickly quote a few verses from Scripture where Mary Magdalene is weeping at the tomb and encounters two angels who ask:
“They said, “Woman, why are you weeping?” “They have taken my Lord away,” she replied, and I don’t know where they have put him”. As she said this she turned round and saw Jesus standing there, though she did not recognise him. Jesus said, “Woman, why are you weeping? Who are you looking for?” Supposing him be the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have taken him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will go and remove him”. Jesus said, “Mary!” She knew him then and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbuni!”- which means Master”- John 20:13-16
Talk about confusion at the tomb! Mary comes to grieve the loss of Jesus, only to find his body missing and two angels instead. To top it off, she encounters the gardener who also asks the same question as the angels, “Woman why are you weeping?”. If that was me, I would be getting pretty annoyed that everyone was avoiding the fact that Jesus’ body was missing!
“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? “- 1 Corinthians 15:55
It isn’t until the gardener says, “Mary”, that she “knew him” (verse 16). Jesus reveals himself to her, by calling her name. In this simple and intimate moment, Mary is overwhelmed by the love and presence of her Master and Saviour. It was not only her name that he knew, but her whole heart. Though physically changed, the heart and power, love and mercy of God, reveal itself to Mary through the Risen Christ.
Jesus knows us, like he knew Mary. This isn’t just a heartwarming story about Mary encountering her Master. This is a story that is meant to mirror our encounter with the Risen Christ.
Very often, Jesus comes to us in unexpected ways. Perhaps we are looking for him in the wrong tomb. Who are the gardeners in our own lives? Where and through whom, does Jesus want to reveal himself to us? Why are we still weeping?
The time for mourning, the time for hopelessness, the time for condemnation is over. Jesus Christ truly conquered and defeated death and sin. This gives us every reason to celebrate. Even in the midst of suffering, pain and darkness. Mary Magdalene could rejoice that the Risen Christ, by calling her name, knew the depths of her heart. He had not abandoned or forsaken her, but rather redeemed her, and all of humankind from sin and death. Let us celebrate this great truth today, with joy!