Mary Magdalene 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.
In the gospel reading for today, Mary Magdalene, broken and terrified, arrives at the tomb to mourn and discovers that Jesus' body is gone.
Put yourself in that place. A day after you have buried one you loved deeply, you return to the gravesite; it is empty.
Not only that, there are two angels there who question your tears. As if the grief were not so visceral already, now the body is gone and you are seeing angels who speak.
Behind you another voice speaks and again asks why you are crying.
And then the voice behind says your name...it is the voice of your beloved, a voice you would know anywhere. And you turn around and there he or she is. Your immediate impulse is to reach out and wrap your arms around your beloved, but he or she says, "Do not hold on to me..."
and in the case of Mary Magdalene, this is the one who saved her life, who healed her of the demons which almost killed her, who filled her with the love of God and made her whole.
As hard as I try, I cannot fathom Mary's emotions.
But I can understand her exclamation, "I have seen the Lord." And I can imagine how fast she ran as she returned to the others to tell them,
and I know how it felt when they said they didn't believe her.
What about you?