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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.

Woman, Why are you weeping? Twice this is asked in the story. The angels first question Mary of Magdala outside the tomb. The second time Jesus asks it when she turns around.

Mary’s response is the same. It comes from the wrong premise that the Lord’s body has been stolen or that the gardener has transferred it somewhere. Is it enough reason to cry? People weep to express sadness over the death of their loved ones. Mary weeps out of anger and frustration.

At any rate, Mary stops weeping when she recognizes Jesus. This happens when Jesus calls her by name. It is not the timber of Jesus’ voice or his new look that makes her recognize him but her personal name as pronounced by Jesus himself. That may be how Jesus called her, and it has made her recall their former master-disciple relationship.

What can be more interesting than weeping? Well, in that joyous encounter that involves touching like Thomas, Jesus asks her to inform the Apostles of his ascension to heaven. Thus, Mary becomes the first woman missionary of the risen Lord, the first to announce his future whereabouts.

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SOURCE: “365 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.