Grace to you!
Ever wondered why of all the followers of the Lord Jesus, Mary Magdalene was singled out by St. John as the first witness of the Resurrection?
The Scripture notes: "Now on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb” (Jn 20:1).
This instance and the verses that follow were the first of eleven appearances of the Lord Jesus to his disciples between the Easter Sunday and the Ascension Thursday. The Lord appeared to individuals and groups. Once, he appeared to a crowd of about five hundred. Resurrection was a fact and not a hallucination.
The Synoptic writers, namely, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, suggest the number of women, including Mary of Magdalene, varied from two to four. However, Mary Magdalene's name was consistent in all four Gospels as the first witness of the Resurrection. She was an incredible believer in Jesus.
The women went to see the tomb. Or as the Gospels of Mark (16:1) and Luke (24:1) explained, to anoint the body of Jesus. This rite was a Jewish practice. It was a kind and holy gesture in honor of the dead. They couldn't afford to do it a night before because it was the Sabbath. The women, in this case, Mary Magdalene, were devout Jews who never wanted to defile the Law of the Sabbath. However, their love for Jesus was not to be stifled by death.
Nothing is as pious as to assume that the women believed Jesus would resurrect. They, like the apostles, didn't. They merely wanted to anoint their dead Lord and bring closure to the sad event.
So, no sooner was it dawn than they journeyed to the tomb. What they saw was a surprise. The large stone rolled over the tomb of Jesus was already removed. Here was the first miraculous sight at the Resurrection?
The Gospel of Mark gives a peculiar context about the worries of the women as they went to the tomb: "Who will roll away the stone for us from the door of the tomb?" (Mk 16:3)
As many ask during the most despairing moments of their lives, "Who will roll the stone?" "From where shall my help come?" Mary Magdalene, with the other women, was worried as well.
Easter is a permanent reminder that the stone has been rolled away for us to see the empty tomb. Never again will our hope be interned. The stone is no longer upon the tomb in our life. It's by the Lord's Resurrection that this has been done. It's marvelous in our eyes.
A massive stone covering the tomb was once rolled by the command of the Savior Jesus Christ at Cana when he asked the mourners at Lazarus's tomb to roll the stone. The same Lord and Savior wouldn't want a stone laid upon the miracle of the Resurrection. The angels would roll the stone at his behest for God will not allow His loved ones, like Mary Magdalene and you, not to see that inside the tomb, a new hope has dawned—Resurrection.
Rejoice, believer in the Resurrection. Christ lives.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
Author and Goal
Father Maurice Emelu Ph.D., provides a daily blog of reflections based on the Scriptural readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. The goal is to teach, inspire, encourage, and foster healing through the grace of God's word. They are written in a language that is appropriate for a general audience. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration, and developing your thoughts. They may also be useful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.