11 But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look[a] into the tomb; 12 and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. 13 They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” 14 When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew,[b] “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher). 17 Jesus said to her, “Do not hold on to 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 and your Father, to my God and your God.’” 18 Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; and she told them that he had said these things to her.
Why are you weeping?” These were the first words from the resurrected Lord, Jesus. In the post resurrection accounts of John’s Gospel, Jesus first spoke to a woman. This narration exemplifies numerous theological shifts in the ministerial paradigm of the Christian/Jewish community. Even though women were considered second class citizens in the then Jewish community, Jesus’s teaching, life, and witness empowered and equipped women to affirm their place in creating an egalitarian society.
As we are celebrating the feast of Mary Magdalen on this day, I would like to share some information on the personality of Mary.
1. The nomenclature of Mary Magdalen gives us two names. The last name, Magdalen, is attributed to Mary based on the native identity: from the village of Magdalen.
2. Some theologians believe Mary was healed by Jesus from her demonic possession, and some treat her with a certain derogatory past identity.
3. She was one of the prolific disciples and supported the ministry of Jesus with material possessions.
4. Based on the multiple propositions that are articulated to this personality, the traditional church strongly believes that she accompanied St. John, the gospel writer, to propagate the “good news” of Jesus.
I’m not about to validate or invalidate the identity of Mary, but rather, I am interested in highlighting the qualities of Mary in relation to doing the mission of God.
1. Consistency: The love for Jesus has never ceased in Mary, whether he’s alive or dead. The passage clearly projects the love of Mary for our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Mary tasted liberation in a new life experience in the movement of Jesus. The inclusivity of women in the movement established a new order and generated new identity to the marginalized people, to claim themselves as the Children of God. So the search of Jesus’s body in the tomb reflects the love of Jesus from Mary. Today, predominantly, people wear masks and their love seems fake because their love changes between the presence and the absence of a person. But Mary tells us to be consistent in our relationship and love for others.
2. Search for truth: Mary displayed a great quality in searching for the truth behind the missing body of Christ. Even though the male disciples showed some negligence towards the missing body of Christ, we see Mary wrestling with the situation. She approached the disciples for help and peeped into the tomb to sort out her doubts, but she failed. The appearance of Jesus, the Theophanic experience, failed her in finding the truth. Finally, we were able to see the appearance of the Resurrected God, which also blinded her from seeing the truth. But she experienced the truth by the words of Jesus which were from a very personal and affirmative God. Even today, when we search for the truth, God is always near us, and he’ll tell us what to do. No other agency can tell us the truth except the broken body of Christ which was resurrected by the Power of God. Every broken body will tell the fullness and the abundance of God's life to be accomplished with the help of God, amen.
God bless these words.