The Good News for the day, April 3, 2018
Tuesday in the Octave of Easter (262)
Mary Magdalene was just hanging around, outside the tomb crying. Through her tears, she stooped over, looking into the tomb where she saw two messengers in white sitting there, one where his head and one where his feet had been—where the Body of Jesus had been lying. They spoke to her, “Woman, why are you crying?” She answered them, “They have taken my Leader away, and now I don’t know where they put him.” After she had said this, she turned around—she saw Jesus there, but she didn’t know it was Jesus. Jesus spoke to her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who are you looking for?” She thought it was the gardener when she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away some place, tell me where you put him, and I will take care of him.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in their language, “Rabbouni,” (“Teacher”). Jesus said to her, “Don’t keep holding on to me; I have not yet risen to the Father. No, go to The Family—tell them, ‘I am on the way to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'” Mary did go; she announced to the followers, “I have seen Our Leader”—then said what He had told her. (John 20)
Despite other major differences among them, the Gospels agree—it is Mary from Magdala who announces the Resurrection to the men. She comes; she “sees” Jesus; she tells the men—who apparently did not believe the women at their telling.
Does it perhaps take a woman—Mary, the mother of Jesus, Mary of Magdala, and “the other women” — with gifts of love, insight and empathy—to break through the stiff reluctance of male persons to do the act of faith, to see the unseen, to accept the unbelievable.
This is a great mystery—that Mary saw Jesus first! It was not simply that he “revealed Himself” to her—no, there is a tenderness in this scene, a feeling of love between these two that touches us all. She “wanted” to see Him. She went looking. The Apostles, the men, did not. They did not “get” what she “got.” (And then, of course, history, led by men, betrayed her into a confusion and mistaken identity.)
It is part of faith—part of that inner choice to believe—that we trust someone who tells us the truth. History suggests how—too easily—we accept men’s words over woman’s words. Men—too often—do not see what the heart of a woman grasps—that love is something not only real, but can be life-giving and awakening.
Is it sexist to suggest that what women in this case—and too often—see with their hearts what men block with their minds?