The image of Mary Magdalene at the empty tomb captures the central mystery of our faith in a very personal and intimate way. Anyone who has ever suffered the loss of a loved one can identify with the darkness, grief, and confusion Mary experiences.
She is so overwhelmed by grief that she does not recognize Jesus at first; only when he calls her by name does she finally realize who he is. We can imagine her sudden rush of joy as she reaches out to embrace him. However, Jesus instructs her not to hold on to him but to go and spread the good news to the other disciples. The story she will tell them continues to ripple down through the ages right to our hearing of it today.
I am reminded of another woman in the gospels—the Samaritan woman at the well—who also returned to her community to spread the word of the Messiah’s arrival in their midst. The good news, these stories tell us, is not a private but a communal treasure.
The joyful gift of the resurrection, though personal for each of us, is not to be hoarded but shared. There is a saying attributed to St. Francis: “Preach the gospel always; if necessary, use words.” Let us go forth today to proclaim the wondrous truth of the resurrection, not only with words but with our lives.