Why Are We Weeping?

The Gospel for today highlights a beautiful and candid moment shared between Mary Magdalene and Jesus. It is a story we have read over and over again, and though we know the meaning of it by heart, the feeling and emotion the passage evokes in us may feel slightly different this year. As I read it, I found my eyes filled with tears. My feelings of joy welled up in me as I read of the excitement in Mary Magdalene as she recognized her Lord standing in front of her. Our Savior had risen and conquered the grave.

Jesus spoke these sweet words: “Why are you weeping?”

I think these soft and comforting words can be posed to every one of us by Jesus this Easter Sunday. Throughout this Lenten season, we have been plagued by a pandemic. We have fasted, we have prayed unceasingly, we have truly suffered and learned what it really is like to be without the Body and Blood of Christ. We are all weeping while growing weary in these times of uncertainty. We were not even able to celebrate Easter with our family in Christ. We have lost all hope, just as Mary Magdalene did when she discovered her Lord was not in the tomb.

But there is hope, a great and deep hope. Our Lord has risen from the dead and He has saved us. I can see, clear as day, Jesus coming to each one of us this Easter season, looking deep into our eyes and hearts, asking us “why are you weeping?” In true anguish, we fall into Him because we have grown tired of this burden we carry. He takes this burden away because He is our Savior. I believe this Easter season is bringing new hope to us. This pandemic will come to an end because Jesus Christ already conquered it on the cross two thousand years ago. We have a responsibility just like Mary Magdalene’s—we need to go and proclaim the good news. Our Lord is alive! There is no need to fear any more!

God in Our Midst

When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus there,
but did not know it was Jesus.
Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?
Whom are you looking for?”
She thought it was the gardener and said to him,
“Sir, if you carried him away,
tell me where you laid him,
and I will take him.”
Jesus said to her, “Mary!”
She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni,”
which means Teacher.
—John 20:14–16

Noli_me_tangere_-_William_Brassey_HoleHow often our eyes are blinded to recognize the presence of God in our midst. Just as Mary Magdalene mourned the absence of Jesus without realizing it was Jesus Himself who was speaking to her, we also cry out into the void when we feel alone and abandoned, while all the while Jesus is there, listening and responding to our every word. We are never, ever abandoned or forgotten, no matter how it may seem to us in the moment.

Perhaps it seemed to Mary too good to be true that Jesus might really be present with her there in the garden; it was an idea too wonderful for her mind to grasp, and so she could not see the glorious reality before her eyes. That is, not until He spoke her name.

When she heard her own name spoken by Jesus, she recognized Him instantly. She knew it could only be His gentle voice, communicating God’s love for her in a way no one else could. In the same way, we begin to see God present in our midst when we move away from a detached, abstract idea of God and toward an intimate relationship with Him. When we realize that He knows us and cares for us with loving tenderness, everything changes.

The reality of Jesus’s resurrection certainly may seem to us at times too good to be true. But when we open ourselves up to receive the outpouring of love and unmerited graces that He desires to give us, we cannot help but realize that He is indeed alive and present in our midst. God calls each of us by name and draws us to Himself. May we, especially during this Easter season, recognize His voice in our lives and rejoice in His eternal presence.


Image: William Brassey Hole, Noli me tangere / PD-US