(Image courtesy of printeryhouse.org)
Mary stood weeping outside the tomb where her lord had been laid. She was there when they tortured him, when they hung him on the cross, and then she watched him die. She had become a devoted follower of Jesus on that very day he cured her of the seven spirits which possessed her. Now, not only was he dead, but she feared that someone had desecrated his body and removed it from the tomb. Could he find no rest even in death? She is so consumed by grief that she cannot recognize the risen Christ when he appears to her. Only when Jesus calls her by name does Mary recognize him. Her eyes are opened as if she sees him for the first time. In her newfound joy she exclaims, “Rabbouni!” (20:16) which means “teacher.” Indeed Jesus has more still to teach Mary before he leaves her. He tells her that she cannot hold on to him because he has not yet ascended to the Father. Jesus then gives her a special and tremendous task: Mary is to carry the news of the Resurrection to the disciples. The first recounting of the Easter story will be Mary’s to the Apostles. Even now Jesus expects those who love him and follow him, just like Mary Magdalene, to tell the good news of Easter. We are given the same task Mary had just with new recipients. We must tell our family, our friends, our neighbors, and those who have their ears opened to the word of God. The messengers have changed over the years, but the story is the same: Christ died for you, and rose from the dead so that you may live! Do not squander this precious gift of life. Even in the midst of sorrow, Mary found Jesus was with her. Give thanks to God for the Risen Christ!
Open our eyes and loosen our lips,
That we may see you and speak of your wondrous works.
Do not let our hearts be troubled.
There is always a reason to give thanks,
When we remember your promise to be with us always.
Let your Spirit surround us when we are weak.
Let your love give us strength to go on.
Like Mary, may we find you in unexpected places,
And in unexpected ways.
Remind us that we are able to bear the message of Jesus to the world.
Lead us in your light.