Scripture: John 20:1-2, 11-18 (alternate reading: Matthew 12:38-42)
1 Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. 2 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.”
11 But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb; 12 and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. 13 They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” 14 Saying this, she turned round and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom do you seek?” 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.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). 17 Jesus said to her, “Do not hold me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brethren and say to them, I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” 18 Mary Magdalene went and said to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; and she told them that he had said these things to her.
Meditation: Do you recognize the presence of the Lord Jesus when you hear his word? How easy it is to miss the Lord Jesus when our focus is on ourselves! Mary Magdalene did not at first recognize the Lord because her focus was on the empty tomb and on her own grief. It took only one word from the Master, when he called her by name, for Mary to recognize him.
The Risen Lord Jesus reveals himself to us as we listen to his word
Mary Magdalene’s message to the disciples, I have seen the Lord, is the very essence of Christianity. It is not enough that a Christian know about the Lord, but that we know him personally. It is not enough to argue about him, but to meet him. In the resurrection we encounter the living Lord Jesus who loves us personally and shares his glory with us. The Lord Jesus gives us “eyes of faith” to see the truth of his resurrection and his victory over sin and death (Ephesians 1:18). And he opens our ears to recognize his voice as we listen to the “good news” proclaimed in the Gospel message today.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is the foundation of our hope – the hope that we, too, who believe in him will see the living God face to face and share in his everlasting glory and joy. “Without having seen him you love him; though you do not now see him you believe in him and rejoice with unutterable and exalted joy. As the outcome of your faith you obtain the salvation of your souls” (1 Peter 1:8-9). Do you recognize the Lord’s presence with you, in his word, in the “breaking of the bread,” and in his church, the body of Christ?
“Lord Jesus, may I never fail to recognize your voice nor lose sight of your presence as you open the Scriptures for me and speak your life-giving word.”
1 O God, you are my God, I seek you, my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where no water is.
2 So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory.
3 Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.
4 So I will bless you as long as I live; I will lift up my hands and call on your name.
5 My soul is feasted as with marrow and fat, and my mouth praises you with joyful lips,
7 for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I sing for joy.
8 My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.
Daily Quote from the early church fathers: The love of Christ enflamed her, by Gregory the Great (540-604 AD)
“Mary Magdalene, who had been a sinner in the city (Luke 7:37), loved the Truth and so washed away with her tears the stains of wickedness (Luke 7:47). Her sins had kept her cold, but afterward she burned with an irresistible love… We must consider this woman’s state of mind whose great force of love inflamed her. When even the disciples departed from the sepulcher, she did not depart. She looked for him whom she had not found… But it is not enough for a lover to have looked once, because the force of love intensifies the effort of the search. She looked for him a first time and found nothing. She persevered in seeking, and that is why she found him. As her unfulfilled desires increased, they took possession of what they found (Song of Songs 3:1-4)… Holy desires, as I have told you before, increase by delay in their fulfillment. If delay causes them to fail, they were not desires… This was Mary’s kind of love as she turned a second time to the sepulcher she had already looked into. Let us see the result of her search, which had been redoubled by the power of love.” (excerpt from FORTY GOSPEL HOMILIES 25)