“Jesus said to her, ‘Mary!’ She turned and said to him in Hebrew, ‘Rabbouni!’ (which means Teacher).” – John 20:16, NRSV
All hope was lost. The body of Jesus was gone; Jesus, the one in whom Mary Magdalene and so many others had put their hope could not be found. The followers of Jesus laid down their nets, left their homes and families, and followed Jesus. Mary had followed Jesus all the way to the cross, all the way through his journey of suffering a humiliating death on a cross. She had come to attend to his body. Mary was still following Jesus. In her grief, Mary could not recognize the man in front of her. She mistook Jesus, the one she sought, for a gardener.
It was not until Jesus called her name that she was able to see him. Almost as soon as Jesus called her name, he had somewhere for Mary Magdalene to go and something to say. Mary was sent to tell the disciples all she had seen at the tomb that day, how she went ready to prepare a body for its final rest and instead heard and then saw Jesus.
Jesus’ voice is calling still today, calling his church to tell the world that we have seen the Lord. We are called to demonstrate through word and deed that God’s love for us will go to the depths of a tomb and overcome death to remain with us.
God of love, we are grateful for the gift of Jesus’ love that included the laying down of his life, that overcame death and offers us life, freedom and hope today. Open our hearts that we might love and give as Jesus did, generously for the sake of work of God’s reign today. Amen.