The weather was cold, still a strong lingering of the winter past, and the wind nipped at her face still swollen and sore from the non-stop crying of the last few days. She was strangely unaware of each step she took and wondered at how she he made it to the garden so quickly. She was jolted into the present when she realized that the guards that had been there the day before and the huge stone blocking the entrance to the tomb were all gone. Her skin prickled with the energy in the air.
Something was wrong. What was happening? There had already been so many intense, unbelievable episodes over the last three days, one right after another, so that she reeled, thinking that it wasn’t over yet. Peering into the empty cave. The body of her Beloved was gone! In horror, she raced back to tell Peter and John the awful news of the empty tomb.
After they had witnessed for themselves, that indeed the body was gone, the men left Mary, alone and weeping. Fearful that they might be seen anywhere near the events of the last few days, they hurried back into hiding. Once again, she found herself suffering through this ordeal alone. Everyone was supportive when there were palm branches and miracles, but now, since Jesus’ arrest and execution, supporters were few.
Peering once again into the empty grave, Mary was startled to find two men inside the cave. They addressed her kindly, tenderly, asking why she wept. On explaining that the body of her Beloved had been in this very tomb, but was now missing, she turned sobbing to hide her grief. She had just stepped from inside the cave when she was confronted with another man inquiring about her grief. Thinking she had run into the gardener, she once again poured out her concern.
The simple reply, “Mary” awakened her from her grief. It was the voice of Jesus. It could be no other. The words were familiar, intimate, and tender. In that instant all the promises and conversations regarding the fact that he must give up his life but that he would take it up again flooded back into her mind.
She had forgotten! Yes! He had said three days, and this was the third day. It was true! The trauma of the crucifixion, the cruelty, the mobs, all of it had eclipsed the words of promise and hope that she had been clinging to. She couldn’t recall at what moment that they had been lost, but the ordeal had been horrendous, more devastating and awful than she had imagined it could be.
His tender words, now and in the past came full circle to give her a fuller, more complete understanding of his mission and life. Solemnly, carefully, he commissions her with her life work as an apostle in the kingdom he came to establish. “Go tell your brothers what you have seen and heard.” She becomes the first apostle, sent to establish and strengthen the other disciples.
She embodies Sophia or wisdom. These are the qualities of an experience and knowledge of God. She had allowed the mission and purpose of the Christ to fill her heart and life. She is the first one to exchange her fallen condition for the full infilling and transformation of the Christ within. Her life represents all that we might become if we allow the Christ power and the Spirit of God to transform us.
The resurrection story is one of the perfect Human One brought back to life after taking on the sins or bad karma of the whole world. It is also the story of the transformation of the fallen and restored of whom Mary Magdalene is the first fruit and representative of what Christ came to accomplish for us. Together they give us a complete picture of the love of God. The Redeemer and the redeemed. The Bridegroom and the Bride.
We are called, each one, through the tender words of Jesus to be in intimate relationship with the Divine. The resurrection story speaks to us of a new life and way of being in the world. The call to apostleship is also ours, if only we will accept it.