Early in the morning on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James set out toward the garden where they had seen Jesus’ body placed. When they entered the garden, they saw to their amazement that the stone in front of the tomb had been rolled aside. They had brought a lantern knowing the tomb would be dark, and when they looked inside, they saw the tomb was empty. Looking around in the dimness Mary Magdalene saw a figure standing near and assumed it must be the gardener.
“We have come to anoint the body, but someone has taken it away. If you took it, please tell us where it is and we will go there.”
The dim figure spoke her name.
“Teacher, is that you?”
She dropped the lantern and ran to him, threw her arms around him and began to cry. Then she felt that he had nothing to keep away the morning chill, and took off her cloak and put it over him. The cloak was full of her warmth and smell, and for a moment he couldn’t speak. Then she said, “Do you need anything? I have a little food and some water.”
“Yes, Mary, there is something I need for you to do for me. I am so pleased that it was you who came first to me this morning. I must not go back into the city. The guards ran away, but they will come back with more so I cannot stay here. You must go and tell the others that I will go to Galilee and wait for them there. Can you do that for me?”
“I don’t want to leave you. I don’t want to ever leave you.”
The other Mary spoke. “If you want to stay, I will go tell the others, but they will not believe me.”
“You must both go, and yes, Mary, they must see for themselves. Both of you go, and hurry, because I must go now.
Mary asked, “When will I see you again?”
“You must come with the others to Galilee because there I will explain to you how important it is for you to help the others stay together, and how you must tell them all the things I have told you. Now go to them. They must see for themselves that I am no longer in the tomb.”
Then Mary the mother of James gently took Mary’s hand and pulled her away from Jesus, and they ran back toward the city.
Jesus stood there watching them go, and he took a fist full of Mary’s cloak in each hand. It was the first time that he realized that leaving her would be the most difficult part. He straightened his back and started down the road to Emmaus, and then to Galilee where he would tell them about the Advocate to come.
Reflection by John Houk