Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Easter Tuesday

Readings: Acts 2:36-41; Psalm 32; John 20:11-18

The Resurrection appearances are perhaps better described as Resurrection encounters. He appeared, yes, and was seen, though sometimes not immediately recognised. But there is also conversation, and sitting at table, walking together along the road, preparing breakfast, eating fish, and with Thomas, perhaps, touching.

Nor is it simply physical sight that is required in order to 'see' the Risen Lord. In many of these enounters there is uncertainty as to who it is, doubt and questioning, fear and apprehension. The Risen Lord is encountered within faith and, in the first place, by love. Those who listened to the preaching of the apostles were 'cut to the heart'. Mary was weeping as she sought the one whom her heart loved. The beloved disciple is the first to recognise him in the encounter recorded in John 21.

These encounters are always also vocational. It is always the case that grace implies vocation. The encounter with the Risen Lord leads to mission, people being sent to tell others, to continue the work of Jesus, to be joyful and busy in the work of building the Church.

Mary recognises Jesus when he speaks her name. So many vocational stories in the Bible take this form. And then he commissions her: 'go, and tell the brothers'. She becomes the apostle to the apostles, a first witness to the resurrection.

Mary Magdalene has been identified with the woman we read about in Luke 7, who washes the feet of Jesus with her tears and wipes them with her hair. Whether she was the same or not we can say of Mary Magdalen that she saw the Risen Lord because she loved much. Her testimony is part of the apostolic witness on which the faith of all subsequent generations of disciples is built.

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