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					The Way to Life – Easter Study 2009  2
MARY MAGDALENE  DISCIPLES AT THE TOMB  THE LOCKED ROOM

Text                                                                                 Notes
4  MARY MAGDALENE – John 20:14-17a



M
         ary Magdalene turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she
         did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman why are you
         weeping? Whom are you looking for?” Supposing hint to be the
gardener, she said to him, “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 hint Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (which means teacher). Jesus said to her,
“Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father.”

                                     Without justification, Mary of Magdala
                                     has become associated with the woman of
                                     notoriety who washes the feet of Jesus
                                     and anoints them (see Luke 7:37-48).
                                     Accordingly, in holy pictures Mary
                                     Magdalene is often given scarlet robes
                                     and flaming hair to hint at a dissolute life.
                                     She had experienced his healing herself,
                                     perhaps from some form of mental illness
                                     (see Luke 8:1-3).
                                    Our picture maintains tradition by
                                    showing us Mary Magdalene with bright
                                    robes and flowing pre-Raphaelite locks.
                                    Rather than perceive her depiction as
                                    evidence of sin, let us regard it as
                                    symbolizing her strength of character.
                                    This is a woman of courage and initiative.
The spiritual life asks us to use our energies, our hopes, our dreams, our
drives, our passions, for the kingdom.
In our icon, the robe of Mary Magdalene is red, but with a white lining. The
red of her robe matches the discreet red of the wounds on the hands, feet,
and exposed side of Jesus. His blood has redeemed her, and us, and there is
no need for fear. The white lining of her robe also hints at the transforming
work of grace already taking place in her.
       We adore and praise you, O Risen Lord
       Because by your death and resurrection you give life to the world.
       O Christ of the resurrection, when you spoke Mary’s name she knew that it
       was you.
       You know each of us individually, you call us by name.
       In times of doubt or perplexity, speak gently to us, speak our name, and
       help us to realize
       that it is not our weakness that counts,
       but your strength;
       not our achievements,
       but your redeeming grace in us that brings us to the new day.
                                                    5
5  DISCIPLES AT THE TOMB – John 20:2-10



M
          ary Magdalene ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple,
          the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the
          Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.”
Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went toward the tomb. The two
were running together but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the
tomb first. He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there,
but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the
tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the cloth that had been on
Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself.
Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and saw, and
believed; for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise
from the dead. Then the disciples returned to their homes.

                                     The lid of the tomb is tossed on a pile of
                                     rocks behind, as if thrown off by some
                                     mighty explosion. The rocks themselves
                                     seem split by the force of the
                                     resurrection.
                                     The stifling tomb cannot hold back the
                                     Christ. The weight of history cannot
                                     entomb him. Divine life and divine love
                                     have defeated death and cheated it of its
                                     power. And this is a victory not only for
                                     Christ, but for all of us who through faith
                                     and baptism are now part of the mystical
                                     body of Christ. This is why the tomb here
                                     is shaped like a coffin – the defeat of
                                     death.
                                   As yet Peter, on the left, cannot take it all
in. He is still in shock, amazed and joyful, trying to understand it, his arm
lifted in a gesture of astonishment. The figure of Peter has been caught in
motion, showing this ever-active man as he begins to grasp what has
happened. John, on the other hand, is shown in a more contemplative pose.
Whether we are active or contemplative, there is a place for us both in the
resurrection life of Christ. There are times when we have to be doing,
achieving, working, striving to build with Christ the kingdom of God. There
are times when we need to be silent, to heed the work of the Spirit within us,
to attend to the mystery of God, drawing us deeper into the source of life and
love.
    We adore you and praise you, O Risen Lord
    Because by your death and resurrection you give life to the world.
    Holy God, please touch our lives with your grace, especially when life seems
    dull and full of routine.
    When we need to discover you afresh, send us others who will be witnesses
    to us of your love, messengers of Christ’s resurrection, Open our hearts to
    their message that the stone is rolled away.

                                                     6
6  THE LOCKED ROOM – John 20:19 2l



W          hen it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the
           doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear
           of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be
with you.” After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the
disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be
with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”

                                     This is a serenely confident Jesus: tall,
                                     elegant, athletic; he has passed through
                                     death to life and has nothing to fear. He
                                     wants us, too, to be free of fear. Hence the
                                     double message of his arms. Their
                                     upward, sweeping gesture identifies him
                                     as the crucified one by showing us the
                                     wounds on his hands. But the arms also
                                     seem reassuring. They reach out to us, as
                                     if to share the peace of which Christ
                                     speaks. And is there also a hint of a
                                     gesture outward here, as if to shoo the
                                     disciples out of the room where they have
                                     hidden away?
                                    The disciples here mirror our own human
                                    ambivalence. To the right of the icon, the
                                    disciples lean toward Jesus, one of them
even reaching out. It is as if they are beginning to accept the message that
they are sent into the world. To the left, the other group shrinks away,
wanting to remain in safety and obscurity.
This is so much like ourselves. We want Jesus without risk; we want faith
without a challenge. But deep in our hearts we know that it cannot be so.
Christ promises to bring us life, “life in all its fullness” (see John 10:10), and
we cannot live that life without embracing the world that he himself
embraced, the world with all its needs and risks. Christ unlocks the doors of
our lives and invites us to step out with him. This is why although our
painting is of a locked room, the prominent windows catch our eyes, telling
us that there is a greater world out there.
    We adore you and praise you, O Risen Lord
    Because by your death and resurrection you give life to the world.
    Sometimes, Lord, fear hems us in.
    We fear the judgment of others, of being put in the balance and found
    wanting.
    We fear being thought too unfashionable.
    Too unconventional.
    Too old. Too young.
    Too religious, or as not having enough faith. Lord, help us to be ourselves.
    Usher us out of the locked room of our fears,
    so that we may take our place in the world, and do what we can.


                                                    7

				
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