3 Apr 2018

Easter Tuesday - St Mary Magdalene - The witness of the Apostle to the Apostles


John 20:1-9
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.

I never suspected
Resurrection
         and to be so painful
          to leave me weeping
With Joy
to have met you, alive and smiling, outside an empty tomb
With regret
not because I've lost you
       but because I've lost you in how I had you -
in understandable, touchable, kissable, clingable humanity
cling to what we had, our past.

But I know that......if I cling
you cannot ascend and
I will be left clinging to your former self
......unable to receive your present spirit.

Daily Reflection for Lent and Easter Week Ron Rolheiser OMI



Fr James Martin SJ reminds us of a few important things about Mary:

  • First, she was the first one, according to the Gospel of John, to whom the Risen Christ appeared after the Resurrection. He could have chosen anyone to whom to appear, and he chose Mary. She is then asked to announce the good news to the disciples, thus her great title "Apostle to the Apostles,..." the one who is sent to the one who is sent. 


  • Second, she was not a prostitute. This unfortunate tradition comes from, among other sources, a homily from Pope St. Gregory the Great in which he conflated Mary with a prostitute in the Gospels. This is false. Jesus "drove seven demons from her" (which certainly prompted her gratitude and may have led her to follow him) but she was not a prostitute. (Interestingly, when you visit the Holy Land you see that the first town that you come upon on the Sea of Galilee when you travel from Nazareth to the Sea of Galilee, is Magdala. She may have been one of the first he met in that area.)


  • Third, between the time that the Risen Christ appeared to Mary after the Resurrection and when she announced the Good News to the rest of the disciples, she was the church on earth. That is, only she, among all mortals, understood the full Paschal Mystery. 



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