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AN EASTER STORY (based on John 20:1-18)

Della Gaudet, CND

“I have seen the Lord.”

Yes, those are the words I said to Peter and the others. I am not sure they believed me. It probably would have been more appropriate if Jesus had revealed himself to the one chosen by him to be the “Rock” or to his best friend, John. It is not every day that someone rises from the dead. And sometimes our eyes deceive us.

But let me go back to the beginning to help you understand.

My name is Mary. They call me the Magdalene because I am from Magdala. I was there when Jesus died on the cross. With her relative Mary, the wife of Clopas, and John, I stood beside his mother, as he hung on the cross. We stood there for about three hours, just to be with him as he approached his death.

I was there when he took his last painful breath. I watched as they took him down from the cross. I looked on from a respectful distance as she held him in her arms for the last time. And when it was all over, when they had laid him in the tomb, I did not return to my dwelling for the night. With the other women who had followed him to Calvary, I stayed with his mother thinking that she would need our support during the long agonizing hours of that terrible night. As I look back now, she remained remarkably serene and peaceful. It was as if she was in possession of a secret that no one else knew. I wept during those dark hours when not one of us, except her, had any hope to cling to.

Dawn brought the Solemn Sabbath Day. The Sabbath had always been for me a day of thanksgiving and joy. But not this Sabbath. We were not allowed to move about that day. How I longed to go back to the place of his burial. As soon as it was permitted to do so, I went. I found the stone rolled back, discarded burial cloths, angels speaking words that made no sense. Nothing could console me. Not only was he dead, but now he was gone.

I stood there weeping.

He spoke my name and I knew beyond all doubt that it was he. No one else ever spoke my name as he did. So many times after the evening meal when he and his disciples gathered to talk about the day’s events, he would turn to us, the women, and say: “Mary, Joanna, Rachel. Come sit with us. We need to hear your views and opinions.” Every time he spoke my name, I heard and sensed the respect and love that he had for me. It felt inside that he was calling me to new life. That is how I knew that he was truly risen. He spoke my name in the old familiar way, in a way that touched something deep inside me. No one else could do that. In that moment all pain, all grief, all doubt came to an end.

 

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