Easter Sunday, the resurrection brought Jesus Christ back to the world. There are different versions of this event. In this DO reading, offer the version the girl in me holds most dear. I know there are other women who feel the same way. Many I have “met” on the pages of Catholic periodical’s online.
Gospel John 20:11-18
“Mary stayed outside near the tomb, weeping. Then, still weeping, she stooped to look inside, and saw two angels in white sitting where the body of Jesus had been, one at the head, the other at the feet. They said, ‘Woman, why are you weeping?’ ‘They have taken my Lord away’ she replied ‘and I don’t know where they have put him.’ As she said this she turned round and saw Jesus standing there, though she did not recognize him. Jesus said, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? Who are you looking for?’ Supposing him to be the gardener, she said, ‘Sir, if you have taken him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will go and remove him.’ Jesus said, ‘Mary!’ She knew him then and said to him in Hebrew, ‘Rabbuni!’ – which means Master. Jesus said to her, ‘Do not cling to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go and find the brothers, and tell them: I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ So Mary of Magdala went and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord and that he had said these things to her.”
This particular reading shows us a side of Jesus and Mary M. in a context many choose to overlook, not acknowledge. The human Jesus that I hold as dear to my heart as the resurrected Christ. Mary M. ran to the disciples to tell that Jesus was gone, they investigated, saw he was gone – and walked away, back home they went.
Mary M. who had traveled with Jesus, followed him, was at the cross when He was nailed to it, remaining at the foot of the cross as His body died away. How can you not read these verses and not picture Mary, laying in heap, mourning the loss of Jesus? Further heartbroken by His missing body. He chose to appear to dear Mary first. A faithful woman, she remained where she last saw Him. Imagine her shock and surprise when he appeared?
Her vision blurred by her tears, not recognizing Him. “Rabbuni” she called out. The translations of this vary; Rabbi, Knowledgeable Rabbi, “My Master” according to the US Bishops website (a term also used for husband repeatedly in the Bible). I know, I know. So many dislike thinking Jesus so human but He was, He lived and walked the earth. We don’t know and will likely never know the truth according to scriptures, because there are so many missing years. For myself, the importance of Jesus appearing first to Mary M. shows His respect and love for her. Respect and love I know women often do not feel in the church. The Apostles went off on their own way. Mary M. loved him so that she stayed and wept. He came – to her. Before completing His earthly mission and ascending to be with God, the Father.
On a personal note, when I began researching “Rabboni” and seeing Master and Lord were also terms for husbands, I came across scriptures where wives are to submit to husbands. That led me to write Wives Submit to your husbands…