The gospel of today of John 20:11-18 continues the narration of post-resurrection events. Today relates the appearance of Jesus to Mary according to the gospel of St John. After Peter and John left home, Mary remained and was deeply in sorrow, and weeping.
When she looked into the tomb and saw the two angels sitting where the body of Jesus is. They asked her the reason she was crying. Mary who is yet to understand what happened said categorically that they have taken the body of the Lord and could not find where they kept Him.
Mary may have thought that they have taken the body of Jesus to an unknown destination. She may have thought that it is a dead-end situation. Mary may have thought that She would never set her eyes on Jesus again. It seems like a no-hope situation. Mary was deeply worried about Jesus’ body.
This is a sign of true love. When we truly love Jesus we will seek Him and search Him with all our hearts. We would like to be with Him and close to Him often.
The Love of Mary.
In John 20:11-18, Mary came early to the tomb to accord Jesus her last respect and to anoint his body. She sacrificed her sleep, her rest, and anything that may occupy her that morning, to be with the Lord. When we truly love Jesus, we can sacrifice any comfort to be close to Him. We can sacrifice any pleasure and seek Him with all our hearts if we truly love Him. When we do, it will appear in everything that we do.
So, the situation at hand today in John 20:11-18 seems like there is no chance again to accord Jesus her last respect. She might be deeply concerned about what might be eventually happening to the body of Jesus. Mary was seeking to see Jesus at the very slightest opportunity. What a love!!
Even when the angels were asking Mary why she is crying, her answer makes it clear that she still does not understand what has transpired. She still believes that some people have made away with the body of Jesus.
The sight of the angels and their smiles was not enough for her. She seeks to see Jesus by all means. This only happens when we truly want someone. If we truly love Jesus, we would seek for Him both in good times and in bad times just like Mary did by searching for Him even at the tomb, trying to show her love for Jesus both dead or alive.
When we truly love Him, we would seek Him with all our minds, strengths, hearts and spirit. When we truly seek Him, we can find Him. If we deeply love Jesus, it will manifest in everything we do, we would continually seek Him with all our hearts, all our concern would be how to come close to Him and encounter Him again and again.
Make Jesus A Personal Lord.
Personal is something or somebody that is truly part and parcel of your life. We can overhear people call others my own person. It shows deep affection, closeness and relationship with the person. In today’s gospel of John 20:11-18, when the angels asked Mary, why She was crying, Mary said “they have taken my Lord away. Watch that statement “My Lord”. Here, Mary indicates how she takes Jesus. This statement simply means that Jesus is everything to Mary. Our love for Jesus should be personal and revolve around everything that we do.
While Mary was crying and seeking a way to find Jesus, Jesus appeared to her. This is a confirmation of God’s promise in Proverbs 8:17 “he who seeks me will surely find me” and Jesus promises in Matthew 7:7, ask and you shall receive. Mary searched and found, she knocked and she was granted the grace to be the first disciple of the resurrection.
Secondly, in John 20:11-18, when Mary saw Jesus, she could not recognize Him, until Jesus called her by name, she then recognized Him.
Hence, there is a way God communicates to those who have sincere love for Him. It is a communication that is lovely, intimate and consoling. Like when He wanted to ascend into heaven, He looked at His disciples and said ‘I will be with you until the end of time”. What a consoling word. Hence, when we love Him sincerely, He will always be there to assure us of His ever-abiding presence.
Today in John 20:11-18, also, Mary was able to recognize Jesus, when Jesus spoke to her because she has known His voice and the way He addresses her. This is a confirmation of what Jesus says in John 10:27, “my sheep know my voice and I know them and they follow me”.
When we love Jesus, we will always know when He talks and directs us. Like Mary Magdalene, there will be this inner Joy whenever we listen to His word. The presence of Jesus today, worth more than gold to Mary of Magdala and hence the presence of Jesus should do the same to us if we truly love Him.
Our Response to Jesus.
When Jesus calls her by name, she responds, “Rabbouni!” There is much of what we know in this response. First and foremost, there is respect.
In the first century Judaism, teachers commanded immense respect from their students. Mary shows him this respect. Second, it acknowledged that she is a devoted follower. Thirdly, it was a demonstration of excitement and love. The “Rabbouni” as Mary exclaimed means “my beloved teacher.”
When we truly love Jesus, it will reflect in the way we pray and in the way we respond to His word.
The truth is that Jesus encounters those who truly seek Him with all their hearts. He continually speaks to our souls when we seek Him in all sincerity and affection.
When we truly love Him, it radiates in everything we do. When we truly love Jesus, it radiates in the way we pray, it reflects in our prayer life, even in how we treat others. If we love God, we can never give up on Him even while suffering, so our love for God reflects in how we relate with Him at the time of suffering and difficulties.
May God help us to love Him sincerely and May He never allow you to stumble Amen