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Woman, why are you weeping?

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Woman, why are you weeping?

Woman, why are you weeping?  You have endured the sight of Jesus being condemned to death, crucified and buried.  The one who gave you hope has been taken from you… and with his loss your own hopes have been dashed to the ground and trodden underfoot.  Your only remaining hope that morning is the hope that the guard will not turn you away but help you roll that stone away, so you can anoint the dead body.  Now the tomb is empty; your hope is gone and so you weep.

The only explanation you can find upon seeing the empty tomb is a cruel, cruel theft of hope.  Grave robbers have taken the body of your beloved Rabbuni.

 

But have courage, Mary of Magdala, for the one whom you seek is there, behind you!

 

The woman of misery in a moment is filled with the joy that is beyond all telling and becomes the first missionary: ‘Go and find the brothers, and tell them: I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God’ (Jn 20).  Imagine her intense passion in that nadir being transformed to the zenith in a moment, then imagine her using that tremendous energy for spreading the Good News.

Mary of Magdala has much to teach us about prayer, hope and trust and service.  When we find ourselves in what we perceive to be a dire situation, we can perhaps see one very unlikely solution or have one very feeble hope, which then becomes the focus of our petition.

… but Mary of Magdala shows us how short-sighted such a perception can be, because we don’t have the vision to see what plans God has for us.  Remember the prayer of Mary, mother of Jesus, ‘they have no wine’.  Another person might have prayed that the guests suddenly have no thirst, or an overwhelming desire to go home, or to drink water, but not Mary.  Her great open-ended hope – which enabled her to respond so positively to Gabriel at the Annunciation – enabled her in Cana to trust Jesus to find a way.

When we ‘ask, seek, knock’, let us leave the finer details to God, who already knows what we need before we ask him.  And, as we’ve remembered Mary of Magdala this week (yesterday, I know, but we had no Internet connection here), let us remember to ask her prayers that we might open our eyes and recognise Jesus wherever we are.

Mary of Magdala, pray for us.

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