Mary Magdalen - Easter 2017

2 April 2017

Mary Magdalene has a crucial role as witness to us about the Easter Miracle. She has been called 'The Apostle to the Apostles'. For it was she who first encountered the empty tomb. It was she who ran to find Peter and John to tell them. It was she who had the first encounter with the risen Christ. It is she we can use as a model for our own journey of faith and our own encounter with the living Christ.

St. Mark records Mary, with other witnesses, seeing Jesus die on the cross. She saw where he was laid in the tomb. So when the Sabbath was past, Mary, and others, brought spices to the tomb where they’d seen Jesus being laid, in order to anoint him as was their tradition, suspecting nothing out of the ordinary. Expecting to find a bruised and battered, bloody body, wrapped in linen as was the custom.

And yet she finds the tomb empty. 

What would we do in such circumstances? I don’t suppose we’d stand there and say: “Oh, well… looks like my acquaintance has been resurrected.” Or: “Oh well. Looks like I’ve had a wasted trip – never mind.” One thing we might do is: be seized with a sudden panic. We might get out of that place as quickly as possible and race to find someone to tell. Preferably someone we knew.

And what would we say? “I went to visit that grave and you’ll never guess. It was empty. I can’t believe it! Could someone have stolen the body…? Why would they do such a thing?!?”

Well, that is exactly what Mary did and said.

Which is why the Gospel record gives us, through Mary, an authentic witness to the resurrected Christ.

So, how does all this help us go about our lives as Christians today?

One way is to try and model ourselves on Mary’s faithfulness. For her, she’d seen the man she had been following die. She mourned him, but she didn’t turn her back on all he’d meant to her, she didn’t hide herself away, or just pack up and go home. She carried on. Even in the darkest times, at the point of deepest despair and greatest doubt. Even though she had, we imagine, nothing left to hope for, she still did what was right and important. And her faithfulness and her love reaped rewards beyond measure. As a result, she was the first to encounter the risen Christ - and recognised Jesus as such.

When we feel at our lowest ebb. When, perhaps, we feel that Christ, in some way, is absent from our lives, that God doesn’t seem to care. We can - and should - continue in our prayers, in our faith, in our trust… And, if we do, we, too, will surely receive our own encounter with the risen Christ. Just like Mary.

With every blessing to you and those you love this Easter. Amen

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