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.”
Ancient Jewish women, though considered equal to men, had limited privileges. “Women should remain silent in the churches … as the law says.” (1 Cor 14:34–35) In modern times, women were discouraged from serving as synagogue presidents and performing roles traditionally and exclusively done by men. (Rabbi J. B. Soloveitchik)
A woman who perseveringly sought Jesus was the first one to report that he had risen. Just as death came through a woman, there is life through a virgin. A woman saw first Jesus in a garden, a woman lost God in Eden. (Augustine,Sermon 232, # 1; Sermon 229L, # 1) Why did Jesus tell her, Noli Me Tangere? Mary saw Jesus’ humanity only. Her faith must go beyond that. He’s divine too. He told her, “Do not touch me: so as to believe that I am only a man. Don’t by touching earth, lose heaven; don’t by remaining with me as man, fail to believe I am God.” (Augustine, Sermon 244, 3) Jesus as human understands our cross and as divine helps us to carry it. Let our feet touch the earth, but always gaze upward to heaven.
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