One Monk of the Order of Saint Benedict

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The Word of God and the Body of God reveal each other -- the homily worships both.

July 22, 2006

For the Memorial of St. Mary Magdalene

John 20:1-2,11-18

As the Gospel of John mulls over the event of Christ, it points backwards to the Book of Genesis, recognizing that Christ is the New Creation, the New Adam, the New Genesis— new beginning— of the human race and human history.
Certain details from the original creation are repeated but transfigured in Christ.
In Genesis, God made Adam’s body out of the ground, and then God breathed into it his own breath.
Then, God himself became a gardener, planting a garden, and settling Adam in it.
In the Gospel, Christ, who is himself both the Lord God and the New Adam, breathes forth the Spirit from his own body, and is settled, buried, in a garden too.
In Genesis, the Lord God, the gardener, goes looking for man and woman who have sinfully underestimated the gifts of God.
In the Gospel, a woman, St. Mary Magdalene, is searching in the garden for a man whom she also has underestimated.
In Genesis, the man and woman knew who the gardener was.
In the Gospel, St. Mary Magdalene mistakenly believes she has found a mere gardener, whom she likewise underestimates.
In the Garden of Genesis, the Lord God goes searching for man and woman.
In the Garden of Resurrection, the Lord God and New Adam lets a woman, St. Mary Magdalene, search for him.
He lets her discover INFINITELY and ETERNALLY MORE than she was anticipating.
He sets her up for it.
He knows who she is, but first addresses her merely by the title, “Woman”.
Whom do you seek?

She tells him she wants her Lord.
Now he makes himself known to her.
Whereas Eve received her own name only after the spiritual death of sin, and only after the Lord God told her she would bear pain, and that in her pain she would desire her husband, now Christ speaks St. Mary Magdalene’s proper name for the first and only time in the whole Gospel.
But then….
Whereas the Lord God turned Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden burdened with pain and toil, struggling to survive, Christ sends St. Mary Madgalene out of the Garden of Resurrection with a holy mission to tell good news to the men-folk who are, like herself, followers of the one who has planted the Garden of Resurrection.
Whereas the first man and woman were banished from face-to-face communion with God, the woman St. Mary Magdalene is sent to the men-folk with joyful tidings of a new and everlasting COVENANT from Christ.
my Father
your Father
my God
your God

St. Mary Magdalene is herald of the newness Christ gives us in his resurrection and his Eucharist.
As we receive the Lord here today in the Garden of the Eucharist, each of us can say with St. Mary Magdalene, “I have seen the Lord.”
But let our actions and our lives also speak faithfully and with integrity.
My Great One,
My Teacher!
By your grace,
I also am ascending
to my Father
and your Father,
to my God
and your God.

- - - -

An invitation from the Pope for this Sunday, July 23: DAY OF PRAYER AND PENANCE FOR PEACE IN MIDDLE EAST

Click HERE for it.
That God Be Glorified in All


Blogger DimBulb said...

Hi, Father,

Like your site.

In our family bible study we saw a connection between John 20:1-18 and the brides search for the groom in the Song of Songs.

"In the Canticle, it is night(3:1). The woman goes about the city seeking her beloved (3:2a). She says, "I will seek him whom my soul loves. I sought him but found him not" (3:2b). She asks the watchmen, "Have you seen him whom my soul loves?" (3:3) Finally, she says, "Scarcely had I passed them, when I found him whom my soul loves. I held him and would not let him go" (3:4).

In 20:1-18, it is early (the end of night). Mary goes to the tomb seeking the body of Jesus. She does not find it. She sees two angels (the watchmen?). Immediately after her words with the angels, she turns, sees Jesus, thinks he is the gardener, then recognizes him, holds on to him, and does not want to let him go.

The parallels are fairly close. If we add to the above the mention in the Canticle of gardens (4:12; 5:1; 6:2; 8:13); of brothers (1:6; 8:1, 8); of running (2:8; 8:14); and perhaps even myrrh and aloes (4:14; 5:1), the overall nuptial parallels between 20:1-18 and the Canticle of Canticles becomes even closer." (Peter Ellis, THE GENIUS OF JOHN pg. 289)

A Genesis/John parallel I found very interesting concerns John's Eucharistic discourse. Read Genesis chapter 2, and especially chapter three, then read the discourse. Notice how often the theme of life and death is linked to eating in both texts. The discourse took place around passover (6:4). This was the same time at which Genesis 2-3 was being read in the synagogue liturgy. Other readings used at this time which focused on eating are Exodus 16 and numbers 11. I found all of that very interesting.

5:43 AM  

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