The Gospel reading set for the Eucharistic Service today is the story of Mary Magdalene, weeping in the garden after she had found the stone rolled away from Jesus’s tomb, and the tomb empty. As she weeps, a man she mistakes for the gardener asks her why she is crying; the conversation continues thus, Mary says,
‘Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away’ Jesus said to her ‘Mary’. She turned and said to him in Hebrew, ‘Rabbouni!’
There are, perhaps, many reasons why Mary mistook Jesus for the gardener. The early morning light was not good, she was not really looking properly, her eyes were blinded by her tears, grief distorted her understanding – and none of us, including Mary, expects to see a person whose death we have witnessed, walking in a garden.
Many of us have had our vision distorted or been blinded by grief during this last year. Some of us may still be living in the hopelessness and dereliction of Good Friday, despite the glorious news of the resurrection, brought to us on Easter Day. In our own grief and mourning, it can be difficult to recognise the risen Lord – despite His being beside us – but He is there, and He calls us by name, just as He called Mary.
The inescapable truth is that the tomb was empty – and is still empty, for Jesus is risen from the dead. He is alive and He is beside us, calling us by name – and there He will stay, until our eyes and hearts clear and we can turn and greet him again, with love and with joy.
Alleluia, Christ is risen, Alleluia.