Wednesday, April 7, 2010

I Have Called You by Name

The Gospel for Tuesday of Holy Week is one of several Resurrection appearance of Jesus. 
"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). Jesus said to her, 'Do not hold me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brethren and say to them, I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.' Mary Magdalene went and said to the disciples, 'I have seen the Lord'; and she told them that he had said these things to her." John 20:11-18
Jesus had given Mary Magdalene a new direction for her life, drawing her out of a life of sin. Imagine her sorrow over His passion and death. Where was she to go now? Her Beloved had been taken away from her, and now she is at His grave. But the body of her Beloved is not there. So she sits there weeping. Two angels ask her why she weeps but she must not see them through her tears and only bewails the loss of her Beloved. She is focused on what He was to Her. 

Jesus Himself then asks her the same question, but in addition, He asks her, "Whom are you looking for?" Mary turns to Him but still crying, she does not recognize Him through her tears. Or is that the only reason, she doesn't know Jesus? Is she still looking for the body of Jesus, clinging only to what she has seen and touched. Finally, Jesus draws her to Himself when He calls her by name. Mary turns to Him a second time and immediately recognizes WHO has spoken to her. Mary has experienced a conversion from looking for Jesus the man to recognizing Jesus, the risen Christ. Perhaps she recalls the passage from the prophet Isaiah that says,

"Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine....I, I am the LORD, and besides me there is no savior. ... I am the LORD, your Holy One, the Creator of Israel, your King. . . .Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?" Isaiah 43:1, 11, 15, 19

By this time, Mary must be clinging to Jesus, for He says to her, "Do not hold me, for I have not yet ascended to my Father and your Father." Jesus reveals to her that they have the same Father. What a revelation to take back to the disciples!

Do we not sometimes find ourselves disillusioned, weeping in the garden? But will Jesus not draw us into His plan? As humans, we can be filled with disappointment and sadness when things do not go as we have imagined. But God has a plan much greater than we can imagine. Let us focus on Who Jesus is for us as well as what He did for us. Then, as with Mary, true conversion can take place. Let us proclaim Jesus, the Risen Lord, who fills us with consolation, for He is Lord of heaven and earth.


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