Step #1: Lectio / Read
John 20:1-2, 11-18
On the first day of the week,
Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early in the morning,
while it was still dark,
and saw the stone removed from the tomb.
So she ran and went to Simon Peter
and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them,
“They have taken the Lord from the tomb,
and we don’t know where they put him.”
Mary stayed outside the tomb weeping.
And as she wept, she bent over into the tomb
and saw two angels in white sitting there,
one at the head and one at the feet
where the Body of Jesus had been.
And they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?”
She said to them, “They have taken my Lord,
and I don’t know where they laid him.”
When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus there,
but did not know it was Jesus.
Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?
Whom are you looking for?”
She thought it was the gardener and said to him,
“Sir, if you carried him away,
tell me where you laid him,
and I will take him.”
Jesus said to her, “Mary!”
She turned and said to him in Hebrew,
“Rabbouni,” which means Teacher.
Jesus said to her,
“Stop holding on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father.
But go to my brothers and tell them,
‘I am going 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 then reported what he told her.
Step #2: Meditatio / Meditate
Who is Mary Magdalene? We’ve seen her a bunch in the bible -- Jesus cast seven demons out of her (Luke 8:1-3), she was present at the Crucifixion (Mark 15:40) and when they buried Jesus (Matthew 27:61), and of course here (and the other gospels) at the Resurrection.
A repentant sinner who took God’s mercy seriously and allowed it to change her life, Mary Magdalene continued to follow Christ to the cross. When she saw that the tomb was empty, she ran to the disciples who then came and found “the burial cloths rolled up in a separate place” and then returned home (notice that there is a jump in this reading and this part is missing). Mary Magdalene stayed there outside the tomb after they left and wept. Then Jesus appeared to Mary of Magdalene and she thereby became the first witness of the Resurrection, going back to tell the disciples.
What really stands out to me in this reading is how Mary Magdalene did not recognize Jesus until he called her name. I wonder what that must have been like for her. Could it be similar to when you or I feel alone in our sadness or suffering and then are reminded of God’s presence? Or could it be similar to those moments when we recognize God saying something in a way that was obviously perfect for getting our individual attention? Can you picture yourself there as Mary Magdalene?
Mary Magdalene saw two angels in white just sitting there in the tomb where the Body of Jesus had been, and from this reading, she didn’t seem too shocked to be talking to angels. (I wonder if she even recognized them as angels at first.) Then she turned and looked right at Jesus and talked with him, but still didn’t recognize him. All he did was say her name and she realized it was Jesus! So it wasn’t his appearance or his voice that made her recognize him, but what he said.
God is not trying to hide Himself from you. He is right there in plain sight.
When Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene, he had not yet ascended to the Father. Well he did now. Jesus called his disciples his “brothers” saying we have the same Father (John 20:17). He gave us the Holy Spirit to make us anew as God’s children again! While the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ are two parts of the Trinity, they are not necessarily the same -- one is a spirit and one is of flesh -- so it’s probably safe to say we’ll see God a bit differently than Mary Magdalene did on that day. And also safe to say that we’ll see God a bit differently than each other on a typical day.
This is important to remember especially as we strive to evangelize because what helps one person see and know God might be completely different from how you do.
Step #3: Oratio / Pray
How does God get your attention? How do you recognize God’s presence throughout your day? How many times have you been staring right at Him or even having a conversation with Him and you don’t even notice?
Are you drawn to the beauty of nature? Does being in the company of others fill you with peace or energy? Do you seek factual information and thrive off of “ah-ha” moments? In what ways would it be natural for you to see God?
Step #4: Contemplatio / Contemplate
"Lord, I want to see You."
"Help me to recognize You."
For the Rest of Your Day...
Look around. Find God in plain sight. He is there.
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Today's prayer was prepared by Katie LoBosco.