Scripture Reading: Mark 16:1–11
Context: The holy women mentioned in the Gospel clearly were unwaveringly devoted to Jesus. This reveals their strength and courage. They were also faithful to the Jewish law that forbid them to anoint Jesus’ body on the Sabbath. Therefore, as soon as they were able to do so, they started off to the tomb to express their love and devotion. Interestingly, they did this knowing that the heavy stone would be covering the tomb. Though they did not know how they would move it, they were committed to their mission anyway.
When they arrived, they were amazed that the stone had been rolled away. The tomb was empty, and when they entered, they saw “a young man” (an angel) sitting there who assured them that Jesus had risen. They were instructed to go and tell the disciples, and specifically Peter, of this truth. The fact that Peter is singled out is a clear sign of the mercy of God in that Peter had denied Jesus thrice. But that was long forgotten by God due to Peter’s sorrow. The mention of Peter also supports Saint Ignatius’ desire that we fully understand the unique role of Peter in the founding of the Church.
In Mark’s version of this appearance, two of the women ran ahead to tell the disciples, but Mary of Magdala remained longer. Thus, Jesus appeared to her alone, revealing His resurrected body and exhorting her to go and give witness to His Resurrection to the disciples. Saint Mark notes that seven demons had been cast out of her, which was a sign of complete possession by the evil one. Thus, once again God shows His love for the sinner by making her the first witness to His Resurrection. As was presented in the previous meditation, it is commonly accepted in Tradition that Jesus appeared to His own mother first, but Mary of Magdala is the first witness recorded in Scripture. This implies, also, that Jesus’ appearance to His mother was not for her to testify to this to others but was purely an act of love for her and a reward of her faith.
Reflection: Prayerfully ponder Mark 16:1–11 using the methods of meditation and contemplation with which you have become familiar.
Featured Image:Noli me tangere. Fresco in Lower Basilica in Assisi
Introduction to the Meditations for the Easter Season
- Resurrection of Jesus and First Apparition
- Second Apparition
- Third Apparition
- Fourth Apparition
- Fifth Apparition
- Sixth Apparition
- Seventh Apparition
- Eighth Apparition
- Ninth Apparition
- Additional Apparitions
- Ascension of Jesus
- Contemplation to Attain Divine Love