Tuesday of the Octave of Easter
Acts 2:36-41; John 20:11-18)
Most Catholics come to know God gradually. As children they learn that God is a “Supreme Being who knows all things.” Reading Scripture when older, they conclude that God is the Creator, Sustainer, and Redeemer of creation. Some, perhaps at the end of their lives, come to realize that God really can’t be known. He is an unfathomable mystery – Being itself who is revealed in Jesus Christ as caring individually for each human person with the tenderness of a loving father. In today’s gospel we see Mary Magdalene going through a similar development in coming to know the resurrected Jesus.
Mary has returned to the tomb where she earlier discovered Jesus missing. Remembering his goodness and perhaps saddened because she cannot see his dead body, she weeps. Then she turns to see a man whom she believes is a gardener. It is not a foolish guess. Not only is it likely that a caretaker of the area around the tombs would be present, but – more poetically -- Jesus described himself to be a gardener of sorts when he told his disciples that he has pruned them with his word (John 15.3). Mary then recognizes Jesus for his earthly role as teacher (“Rabbouni”) that Jesus demonstrated through the course of the gospel. Finally, in relating her experience to Jesus’ disciples, Mary comes to the insight that Jesus is “Lord,” not just their earthly master but he who reigns over all creation.
Jesus’ resurrection like his Incarnation and his participation in the threefold Godhead comprises an unfathomable mystery. But we can come to greater appreciation of its meaning if we contemplate what is expressed in the gospel accounts. There is wonder which is most vividly seen in children on the hunt for Easter eggs. There is challenge for adults in accepting manifold graces in a world still ordered to power and pleasure. Finally, there is hope for the aged that life is not receding but indeed coming to full flower.