Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.”
But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; and 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 away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.”
When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” 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, “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 brothers 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.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
Jesus seems to have had a close relationship with Mary Magdalene. Indeed, in this account from John’s Gospel, Mary Magdalene is the first disciple to whom Jesus greets after His resurrection.
Still, Jesus says to her, “Stop holding on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father.” A way of interpreting this could be “do not hold me back by your worldly expectations.” Mary had been used to, and expected, Jesus to be a certain way. That was part of the comfortable and easy way they related previously. But this is different now. Jesus’ risen body is the different…and yet Jesus familiarly calls out to her as He always did.
In our own lives, there are times when God is familiar and comfortable. God can also be full of surprises, and challenges. If we hold or cling on only to the God who is familiar and comfortable, we also limit God, and ourselves, by our worldly expectations and limited imagination.
What can we do, then? Just like Mary Magdalene, we can try to be open to seeing God for how God is, rather than how we would like. And when we have seen the LORD, we can go out to all the world and tell the good news.
—Fr. Glen Chun, S.J. is minister of the Loyola University Jesuit Community, Chicago, and also serves on the vocations staff for the Chicago-Detroit Province of the Society of Jesus
Lord, there are times when you are familiar and our relationship with you is comfortable. But when we experience you as our God of surprises and challenges, we may limit you and ourselves by our worldly expectations and limited imagination. Heighten our quest to love you more dearly by trying to see you as you are rather than how we want you to be.
—The Jesuit Prayer TeamPlease share the Good Word with your friends!