Tuesday, April 18, 2017

"They have taken away my Lord."

There at the empty tomb, Mary Magdalen could come to only one conclusion: "They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they put him." Jesus' body was missing, and since it cannot be that he went away on his own, someone else must be responsible for this loss. "They" did it. ("They" always do.)

That Easter dawn, Mary was acting on a kind of instinct,  trying to figure things out, to find a reasonable explanation and make "sense" of what as going on, even looking for someone to blame. I can't speak for you, but I do this all the time. Things are not as they should be: why not? I expect a bit of order and logic in the way things unfold, after all!

What strikes me this morning is that Mary Magdalen, in her understandably distraught state of mind, failed to take into account a very important piece of information that was being made available to her. She failed to reconsider her logical assumption in the light of the fact that the tomb was not completely empty after all: there were two Angels there, and they had been speaking to her, offering to open up a conversation. A conversation from which she turned away after making her rather blunt reply about the missing Jesus.

Thankfully, the missing person was there all along, recognized only when he addressed her by name. "Mary!"

This Easter day invites me to learn to doubt my logical assumptions, based as they are on the solid evidence of my eyes or the experience of years past, but to keep my ears open. The words of the Eucharistic hymn by St Thomas Aquinas tells me "Sight, taste and touch ... are all deceived. The ear alone most safely is believed."


Sr. Ann Marie said...

I've always loved the fact that it was only when Jesus called her by name that she knew him--not the way he looked. There must have been something special about the way he always said her name--something that was different than the way others said it--that made her recognize him. And I wonder how my name will sound when I hear Jesus say it!

Sr Anne Flanagan said...

Have you read/do you remember the amazing, poetic treatment of this scene in von Balthasar's "Heart of the World"? "Your name! Your own sweet name, coming from the mouth of Love..."