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The appearance to Mary of Magdala

Gospel Reading: Jn 20:1-2, 11-18
On the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early in the morning, while it was still dark, and saw the stone removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them, “They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they put him.” But Mary stayed outside the tomb weeping.

And as she wept, she bent over into the tomb and saw two angels in white sitting there, one at the head and one at the feet where the body of Jesus had been. And they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken my Lord, and I don’t know where they laid him.” When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus there, but did not know it was Jesus.

Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” She thought it was the gardener and said to him, “Sir, if you carried him away, tell me where you laid him, and I will take him.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni,” which means Teacher. Jesus said to her, “Stop holding on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father.

But go to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am going to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ ” Mary of Magdala went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord,” and what he told her.

This and the following statements – “I have not yet ascended to the Father” and “I am going to my Father” (v 17) – naturally raise the question of the sequence in the events that, of their very nature, are beyond time. It is to be noted that in the Fourth Gospel the lifting up of the Son of Man on the Cross (cf 3:14; 12:34) comprises in one indivisible moment his crucifixion and death, his glorification and ascension (cf 12:32; 13:31, 32; 17:1, 4), and his sending of the Holy Spirit (cf 16:7; 19:30; 20:22).

Nevertheless, the way the evangelist and his readers first come to apprehend this revealed truth is necessarily piecemeal, as distinct events in a sequence, before they can come to grasp their significance as an integral whole. In their confession of the Lordship of Jesus, therefore, the believers acknowledge as one integral event the redemptive death, the glory of the resurrection, the return to the Father, and the sending of the Holy Spirit. Their confession of faith is thus the confession of Jesus of Nazareth as the Revealer of the Father, as the Christ, the Son of God.

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SOURCE: “366 Days with the Lord,” ST PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail: publishing@stpauls.ph; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.