Gospel: Jn 20:1-2, 11-18
Now, on the first day after the Sabbath, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning while it was still dark, and she saw that the stone blocking the tomb had been moved away. She ran to Peter, and the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and she said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb and we don’t know where they have laid him.“
Mary stood weeping outside the tomb; and as she wept, she bent down to look inside. She saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been, one at the head, and the other at the feet. They said, “Woman, why are you weeping?“ She answered, “Because they have taken my Lord and I don’t know where they have put him.“
As she said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not recognize him. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Who are you looking for?“ She thought it was the gardener and answered him, “Sir, if you have taken him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will go and take him away.“
Jesus said to her, “Mary!“ She turned, and said to him, “Rabboni!“—which means Master. Jesus said to her, “Do not touch me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them: I am ascending to my Father, who is your Father, to my God, who is your God.“
So Mary of Magdala went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord, and this is what he said to me.“
In the list of women-disciples, Mary Magdalene is often mentioned first. A disputed tradition identifies her with the woman from whom Jesus cast out seven demons as well as the woman-sinner who anointed Jesus’ feet. What is indisputable, however, is the fact that she was one of the women who assisted the Lord and the apostles as they travelled and preached the Good News of the Kingdom. Showing her loyalty and the genuineness of her discipleship, she remained at the foot of the Cross while the apostles fled. And the Lord reciprocated this with the singular privilege and blessing of being the first to encounter the Risen Lord on Easter morning. Following the instruction of the Risen Lord, she went out to bring the Good News to the disciples so that today she is honored as “the apostle to the Apostles.“
When the Lord Jesus appeared to her after the resurrection, Mary Magdalene was not able to recognize him immediately. She even mistook him for a gardener. Her own tears impaired her vision. She could not see clearly. This says a lot about our own experiences-when we are overwhelmed by pain, sadness, frustration, hopelessness and despair it is quite difficult to see the face of God. When we are in mourning we find it hard to feel the presence of God. But we have to trust the Lord and his promise: “I am with you always.“ Mary Magdalene’s Easter experience tells us that encounter with the Risen Lord should lead to proclamation of the Good News of the Resurrection.