The detailed account of Mary Magdalene’s response to Easter morning in John’s Gospel feels relatable in numerous ways. She notices that something is wrong or unexpected, in the stone rolled away from the tomb. She notifies others, as the duties to which she is likely there to attend to can’t occur without a body. And when the others she gathers return to their homes, she remains and weeps, her grief of the last few days perhaps compiled at this moment of real, physical loss and confusion.
What we as the reader know has occurred falls outside of Mary’s ability to comprehend— all that makes sense at this moment is the body of her teacher being taken, a tragedy in itself. She is asked by the two angels and then by Jesus, whom she does not yet recognize, why she is weeping. In Jesus’ question of “Whom are you looking for?” is a call back to the first question Jesus asks in John: “What are you looking for?” (John 1:38). Again, we as the reader of this text might be able to make this connection, but Mary does not realize to whom she is speaking until Jesus calls her by name. In hearing her name in her teacher’s voice, Mary’s eyes are opened to who this person is. Jesus encourages her to not hold on to him, for his work of ascension is not complete, but instead to turn toward her brother and sister disciples to share the good news of what she has seen. We are called to remember that part of the resurrection is letting go of what has been so that the opportunity for something new to flourish is possible. How are you being called to be aware of the unexpected, beyond comprehension ways that the things you seek may show up in your life?