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.
The festival is over. Families are packing up and starting off for home – the long trek to Galilee Jesus made with his parents year after year. Now he is gone. Only a few remain behind – those who knew him, and hoped for the Messiah. Now on the first day of the week, Mary has gone to the tomb. He is not there. She tells Peter and the other disciple, who run to the tomb to see for themselves. There is no one there. They go home. Mary stays behind – what more can she do?
She happens – or is stirred to – look in. Where he had laid, where his head and his feet should have been, now instead there are two figures in white. Why are you crying? She thinks the body has been taken away – she wants to give it proper respect, one last gift she can give her teacher. But there in the dawn is a man – the gardener? He asks, Why are you crying? I am looking for my Lord…
Teacher! She embraces his feet…
Do not be holding me now –
It is almost time for rejoicing.
It is almost time he is glorified.
But first, Mary, I do have a job for you. Tell the rest of my students – tell the rest of my family – I am going up to my Father and yours, my God and yours.
Through Christ, God is our father. Through Christ, we are now brothers and sisters one to another. We are now in Christ one family.
I am sometimes asked, why can’t we all just get along? Why did the Catholics and Episcopalians hate each other in Ireland? Aren’t they both Christians? Well, yes…
An innocent question, but it is the vision:
Like sheep called by their shepherd, all of us will one day jostle into the same pen, the same Shepherd watching over all of us, knowing us each by name.
Like Ruth, your God will be my God; your people will be my people.
Maybe it’s time we starting acting like it.
Certainly it’s time we start celebrating it.
Tuesday in Easter Week 2006
Psalm 33:18-22 or 118:19-24
Trinity Cathedral Sacramento