6.— Why Jesus appeared first to St. Mary Magdalen.

Why Jesus appeared first to St. Mary Magdalen.

Read St. John xx.  11-19.

[11] But Mary stood at the sepulchre without, weeping. Now as she was weeping, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre, [12] And she saw two angels in white, sitting, one at the head, and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had been laid. [13] They say to her: Woman, why weepest thou? She saith to them: Because they have taken away my Lord; and I know not where they have laid him. [14] When she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing; and she knew not that it was Jesus. [15] Jesus saith to her: Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, thinking it was the gardener, saith to him: Sir, if thou hast taken him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.

[16] Jesus saith to her: Mary. She turning, saith to him: Rabboni (which is to say, Master). [17] Jesus saith to her: Do not touch me, for I am not yet ascended to my Father. But go to my brethren, and say to them: I ascend to my Father and to your Father, to my God and your God. [18] Mary Magdalen cometh, and telleth the disciples: I have seen the Lord, and these things he said to me. [19] Now when it was late that same day, the first of the week, and the doors were shut, where the disciples were gathered together, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them: Peace be to you.

1.  Had not many been faithful to Jesus besides St. Mary Magdalen?  Why did He choose her before them all? — before St. John, before Mary of Salome, and the rest of the holy women?  It was because of the persistency of her love.  When St. John had looked into the empty sepulchre and returned, and when the other holy women had gone their way, Mary still stood at the sepulchre without, weeping for love of Him and sorrow at having lost Him.  God loves this persistency.  If we went on praying and weeping, we should attain all we ask.

2.  Jesus also appeared first to Mary Magdalen because she loved Him with an affection that absorbed all the powers of her soul.  When she saw the two angels in white, sitting, one at the head, the other at the feet, where the Body of Jesus had been laid, she took no notice of them; and when they asked her why she wept, her only answer was: “Because they have taken away my Lord.”  This is the sort of love that Jesus values; this is the love He will recompense by His most liberal graces.

3.  None of all those who loved Our Lord had shed so many tears as St. Mary Magdalen.  She had wept often at the thought of her sins and her ingratitude; she had wept of pure love at the feet of Jesus; she had wept tears of bitter, heart-broken sorrow, as she knelt beneath the cross; she had wept continually during those three days while He was in the tomb; and now she wept still.  Our Lord loves such tears — tears of penance, tears of compassion, and tears of love.  I will then pray for this gift of holy tears.

Challoner note to verse [19] The doors were shut: The same power which could bring Christ’s whole body, entire in all its dimensions, through the doors, can without the least question make the same body really present in the sacrament; though both the one and the other be above our comprehension.


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