Sunday 16 April 2017
‘Till this moment they had failed to understand the teaching of scripture, that he must rise from the dead.’ John 20:9
I have been travelling with Jesus since the Transfiguration, from the mountain to Jerusalem. Slowly I understand that Jesus is the one who embraces all human suffering with an overwhelming divine love. After the death of my beloved, however, I am bereft again. I understand nothing. And now there is strange news.
In the Gospel of John the resurrection occurs in several stages, preparing the reader for the improbable fulfillment of impossible hope. The first stage is Mary Magdalene’s discovery that the tomb is empty. She runs to Peter and another disciple and they rush back to the tomb, but the men see only the linen cloths. They begin to wonder about the possibility of resurrection and go back home. Mary stays by the tomb, still weeping, and when she goes into the tomb she sees angels. Gradually I am being introduced to the impossible. Mary then sees the risen Lord, but does not recognise him. This is the stage I am at. Then Jesus calls Mary by her name and she suddenly knows this is the Lord. Intuitively, she makes sudden sense of all the long discourses in the Gospel of John. She goes to tell the good news to the disciples and becomes forever the apostle of the resurrection. What happiness! What surprise! What hope! Alleluia! The Lord is truly risen!