Micah 7:14-15, 18-20
John 20:1-2, 11-18
Today’s gospel tells us Mary Magdalene is the first disciple to proclaim the Resurrection. This passage also helps us understand some come to faith through the experience of the empty tomb. The Gospel of John tells us Mary Magdalene was the first disciple to discover the empty tomb.
In John’s Gospel Mary Magdalene came to the tomb while it was still "dark." She sees the stone rolled back. She shares this information with the other disciples. Mary Magdalene returns again to the empty tomb and this time looks inside to find two angels. They ask her why it is she is weeping? Jesus then appears to her, and also asks her why is she weeping? She does not recognize Him and mistakes Him for a gardener. The gospel tells us she turned twice to look at Him and did not recognize Him. Only when He speaks her name, like the Good Shepherd, does she recognize Him.
Mary responds by calling him "Rabbouni" i.e. master or teacher. He instructs her He has to return to the Father. Go and tell His brethren He has risen. She does. One lesson to be learned from this feast and the gospel is that sometimes it is in our darkest moments that we find the Risen Christ. Sometime we have to weep and experience desolation and out of that Easter joy is given. Sometimes we have to look twice before we recognize God’s presence in our sorrow. If we are persistent in our faith resurrected life is given under the condition that it is to be shared with others. It cannot be confined to an empty tomb. Like Mary Magdalene we are encouraged to live through dashed hopes, misunderstandings, and tribulations. If we stand at the foot of the cross and the empty tomb like Mary Magdalene we too will experience the joy of the resurrection.
Fr. Kenneth O’Malley, C.P. is a member of the Passionist theologate formation community and archivist at Catholic Theological Union, Chicago, Illinois.