So happy to be with you this Easter Sunday morning. It is a day of joy, yet somehow one cannot help feeling sad for Mary Magdalene while reading this Easter passage from the Gospel of John. It’s so dramatic, even cinematic how she discovers the empty tomb where Jesus was lain after the Crucifixion. It was an early dark morning and she was bereft after witnessing the awful things Jesus endured on Friday. I have read that it was the custom to anoint the body of the deceased three days after death but I am not sure if that was why Mary went to the tomb.
It is notable that a woman, who was in those days considered a “lesser” person was the only one courageous enough to go to the tomb and it became a seminal moment in Christianity. “In John’s version of the Resurrection story, Mary Magdalene (somewhat akin to) the Samaritan woman, is the person to whom Jesus first reveals himself. Mary becomes the apostle to the apostles, disciple to the disciples. She is the first person to announce that Jesus was not just gone from the tomb but risen!” But, before that amazing moment, all she knew was Jesus’ body was gone. She immediately ran back to Simon Peter and “the other disciple whom Jesus loved” just after seeing the stone had moved away. The Gospel doesn’t say she actually went inside at that point but rather ran back to report the body was gone. Anyone would be completely freaked-out by what she witnessed on Good Friday, so we can empathize with her heightened emotions.
It was no wonder Mary Magdalene was devoted to Jesus because he had saved her life by removing seven demons from her, which had kept her from living a normal life. He returned her to wholeness, but in mourning over the death of Jesus I can imagine she would have been broken again and weeping when she came back to discover the tomb completely empty of her belo