Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Gospel for July 22, Memorial: St. Mary Magdalene, Disciple of the Lord

Thursday, 16th Week in Ordinary Time

From: John 20:1-2, 11-18

The Empty Tomb
[1] Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. [2] So she ran, and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him."

The Appearance To Mary Magdalene
[11] But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb; [12] and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. [13] They said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?" She said to them, "Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him." [14] Saying this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. [15] Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom do you seek?" Supposing Him to be gardener, she said to Him, "Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away." [16] Jesus said to her, "Mary." She turned and said to Him in Hebrew, "Rabboni!" (which means Teacher). [17] Jesus said to her, "Do not hold Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, I am ascending to My Father and your Father, to My God and your God." [18] Mary Magdalene went and said to the disciples, "I have seen the Lord"; and she told them that He had said these things to her.

1-2. All four Gospels report the first testimonies of the holy women and the disciples regarding Christ's glorious resurrection, beginning with the fact of the empty tomb (cf. Matthew 28:1-15; Mark 16:1ff; Luke 24:1-12) and then telling of the various appearances of the risen Jesus.

Mary Magdalene was one of the women who provided for our Lord during His journeys (Luke 8:1-3); along with the Virgin Mary she bravely stayed with Him right up to His final moments (John 19:25), and she saw where His body was laid (Luke 23:55). Now, after the obligatory Sabbath rest, she goes to visit the tomb. The Gospel points out that she went "early, when it was still dark": her love and veneration led her to go without delay, to be with our Lord's body.

11-18. Mary's affection and sensitivity lead her to be concerned about what has become of the dead body of Jesus. This woman out of whom seven demons were cast (cf. Luke 8:2) stayed faithful during His passion and even now her love is still ardent: our Lord had freed her from the Evil One and she responded to that grace humbly and generously.

After consoling Mary Magdalene, Jesus gives her a message for the Apostles, whom He tenderly calls His "brethren". This message implies that He and they have the same Father, though each in an essentially different way: "I am ascending to My Father"--My own Father by nature--"and to your Father"--for He is your Father through the adoption I have won for you and by My death. Jesus, the Good Shepherd, shows His great mercy and understanding by gathering together all His disciples who had abandoned Him during His passion and were now in hiding for fear of the Jews (John 20:19).

Mary Magdalene's perseverance teaches us that anyone who sincerely keeps searching for Jesus Christ will eventually find Him. Jesus' gesture in calling His disciples His "brethren" despite their having run away should fill us with love in the midst of our own infidelities.

15. From Jesus' dialogue with Mary Magdalene, we can see the frame of mind all His disciples must have been in: they were not expecting the resurrection.

17. "Do not hold Me": the use of the negative imperative in the Greek, reflected in the New Vulgate ("noli me tenere") indicates that our Lord is telling Mary to release her hold of Him, to let Him go, since she will have another chance to see Him before His ascension into Heaven.
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

No comments: