Sunday Readings: Acts 10.34, 37-43, Colossians 3.1-4 or 1 Corinthians 5.6-8, John 20.1-9, (10-18)
Mary Magdalene stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb. 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. They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken Jesus away, and I do not know where they have laid him.” Then she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was he. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Who are you looking for?” Supposing Jesus to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (which means teacher). Jesus said to her, “Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my friends and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” 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 (John 20.10-18).
Easter Sunday celebrates the core of Christian faith: that God raised Jesus, who was crucified, from the dead. His resurrection promises all who believe in him will be raised up to new life with God as he has been. Whether people of Jesus’ time imagined the messiah as a great king like David or a prophet like Moses or a great priest and holy man, no one imagined a messiah without power, dying by crucifixion. The gospel notes the disciples who go to Jesus’ tomb “did not understand the scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.”
After Easter, Jesus’ followers draw on Israel’s scriptures to reflect on who Jesus is, for example, the servant songs in Isaiah that describe the exiled people of Israel as God’s suffering servant. In Jesus God becomes one of us to reveal love, compassion, sharing, forgiving are the real power and life-giving energy in the universe.
The Easter gospel we hear in church ends before Jesus appears to a sorrowing Mary Magdalene. He speaks her name and she recognizes her teacher. Jesus sends Mary Magdalene to announce the good news of his resurrection to the other men and women disciples and to assure them their abiding relationship with him — his Father is our father, his God is our God.” Mary becomes the first preacher of this good news, the apostle to the apostles.
What affirms your faith in Jesus’ self-giving way of life?