We began our Lenten journey with Jesus on Ash Wednesday. We followed Jesus as we accepted his invitation to take up our cross and follow him. We were with Jesus as he entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. On Holy Thursday, Jesus bent low and washed our feet. On Good Friday, Jesus gave his life for ours on the cross. Having sat at the table with him and having stood at the cross with him, we can now stand at the empty tomb and proclaim with Mary Magdalene, Jesus is risen! Death did not have the final word. Light has overcome darkness; new and everlasting life is offered to all people.
Today, on Easter Sunday, we stand with Mary Magdalene at the empty tomb. She was a loyal and faithful disciple of Jesus as preached to the crowds and healed the sick. She, with the other women, stood at the cross and watched her friend and master die a very public and humiliating death. Now, after his death and burial, she is still looking for him. Imagine her surprise and shock when she saw that the huge stone that covered the tomb was rolled away. Imagine her shock and disappointment when she saw that the tomb was empty.
However, all is not as it seems. Turning around, she sees ‘the gardener.’ This ordinary ‘gardener’ is the risen Lord! Jesus looks at her in a familiar way and says one word, ‘Mary.’ Immediately, her eyes are truly opened and she realises to whom she is speaking. She too replies with one word, ‘Rabbuni’ – which means ‘teacher’. Her disappointment turns to immense joy.
Jesus has a mission for her, he asks her to go and tell the others that he has risen from the dead. Mary is the first to experience the resurrection and she is the first to proclaim this great news.
Today, we are called to follow Mary’s example; we too are asked to go and tell, to go and share the good news of our faith with others. Mary did not keep the good news of the resurrections to herself and neither can we. Just as Jesus called Mary by her name, he calls each of us today by our name today. Like her, we too are called to be missionary disciples who share and proclaim the good news of the resurrection with all those we meet. We do this in countless ordinary ways through the quality of our daily lives and how we treat others.
Mary experienced the resurrection in a very personal way and then went and told others that she had met and spoken to the risen Lord. Pope Francis, in his letter ‘The Joy of the Gospel’ says to each of us, every Christian a missionary to extent that that they have experienced the love of God in Christ.
This morning as we celebrate and experience the Resurrection of Jesus, let us follow Marys Magdalene’s example; let us go and share with others our own good news; Jesus is risen, death has been defeated, light and goodness have triumphed. Jesus is risen and alleluia is our song? Happy Easter!
~ Michael Moore OMI