While not named, Mary was probably among other women who gathered for the Last Supper and then moved on to the Garden at Gethsemane – and she was certainly involved in what followed.
Like many of us after a death, Mary Magdalene visited the place where her loved one was laid. It was night. She knew she could go there in peace to pay her respects, to mourn, to talk to the one she had lost, to be in that person’s presence even though they are dead: there is something reassuring about being able to do so, isn’t there – it keeps that deep emotional connection.
But on that first Easter morning, as the sun was rising upon the darkened land, Mary didn’t find what she expecting. The stone carefully placed over the entrance to the tomb by Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea, whom she had watched, had been moved. The body had gone. What loss – and then this.
No doubt, as she sat weeping, Mary recalled Jesus’ teaching about his death and resurrection. And yet the body had gone. Even the appearance of angels did not bring consolation. A gardener came and she poured out her distress to him. What on earth was going on?
And then one word changed everything. A word charged with emotion. A word which encapsulated all she was, covered all her confusion and distress, and brought together all her faith and hope.
In this one word, the simple utterance of her name, Mary has found the Lord. And her Lord has found her. In the deep heartfelt calling of her name, Mary had found the true fulfilment of who God had made her to be. She hears her name and says his in reply.
The 16th Century Italian artist, Giovanni Girolamo Savoldo (1480-1548) captures the moment beautifully in his painting, Mary Magdalene. Mary is turning and understanding.
When someone calls our name, it attracts our attention. We turn to face them. We respond to the voice. We recognise the person who says it. Hearing our name spoken makes us turn in the right direction. And if we are looking for someone we’ve lost, we might call out their name. And such is the joy when we find them – and such is the joy of the person who has been found.
Through the resurrection, Jesus calls each one of us by name.
Through the resurrection, each one of us has found what we are looking for.
Take a few minutes to listen to the voice of Jesus calling your name.
Write down what you feel when you turn and understand.