St Mary Magadalen

“But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. They said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping?’ She said to them, ‘Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.’ Saying this, she turned round and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? Whom do you seek?’ 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.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Mary.’ She turned and said to him in Hebrew, ‘Rabboni!’ (which means Teacher).” (Jn 20: 11-16)

 I have written several reflections on this passage, throughout the past few years. Today I’m reflecting on it again, because it is the NC-feast of St. Mary Magdalene, who was to be recognized by the Church as “Equal-to-the-Apostles.” On that Sunday morning two millennia ago, she was not “with” the Apostles, but stood alone, “weeping outside the tomb.” And by all indications, she felt very much alone, as if she were the only one who had suffered the loss of “her” beloved Teacher. They have taken away “my” Lord, she says, – not “our” Lord. And she’s trying to get to the bottom of this, on her own: Tell me where you have laid him, she says, and “I” will take him away. I love that! She was going to carry the Body of Christ away, somehow, …perhaps on her back, I don’t know. It’s interesting that she hadn’t thought of appealing to the Apostles, the eleven able-bodied men who might have helped out with this task. There was apparently a disconnect between the “Equal-to-the-Apostles,” Mary, and the Apostles. And when the risen Lord reveals Himself to her (as quoted above), He does not reproach her for this “disconnect,” but does nudge her to “connect,” by sending her off to tell His “brethren,” the Apostles, of her encounter with Him (Jn 20: 17).

My point? Even while we experience certain ups and downs in our “personal” relationship with the Lord, in the Apostolic Church we need not go through these alone. In communion with Christ, we are called to “connection,” or “communion,” also with the rest of His “brethren.” By reaching out for the help of others, when we need it, we also help them, to see the risen Lord at work amongst us, in the “communion of the saints.” St. Mary Magdalene, Equal-to-the-Apostles, pray to God for us!