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.

April 06, 2010

For Easter Tuesday

Acts 2:36-41
John 20:11-18

The two angels inside the tomb were not sitting just anywhere.
One sat where the head of the Lord had lain in death, and the other where his feet had rested.
The open tomb in the garden shows us “heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man” [Jn. 1:51]— one at his head and one at his feet.
In this new “Garden of Eden,” the angels do not speak Mary’s name, but use a title, “Woman.”
This is strange, because in the Word of the Lord the angels of God always know our names, or give us new names for a special mission.
“Mary” is a name, but “Woman” is a mission.
After the angels, the Lord himself, who has always known her name, will first call her, “Woman.”
She, without being awake to it, is now in the new Eden, the garden of the resurrection that the Lord God has planted.
There ought to be no weeping in this place, for the Lord God says:
Behold, the dwelling of God is with men.
He will dwell with them,
and they shall be his people,
and God himself will be with them;
he will wipe away every tear from their eyes,
and death shall be no more,
neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more,
for the former things have passed away.
Behold, I make all things new. [Rev. 21:3-5]

So, the Lord God asks her as did the angels, “Woman, why are you weeping?”
She has not yet awakened to the newness of all things.
So, she yet speaks of the old, her old mission, her “dead” mission.
“Sir, if you carried him away, tell me where you laid him, and I will take him.”
She still holds on to his death.
He now reaches into her dead mission, and calls her by her old name, “Mary!”
This is the first time she has heard her old name spoken by a voice that has triumphed over death.
She awakens now, turns again to him, and gives him a title, a new one that has not yet sounded in the Gospel: Rabbouni.
Others have called him Rabbi, a title for a teacher.
Its literal meaning is “my great one.”
Rabbouni is the same, except it is more deeply respectful, and is another way of addressing him who is “my Lord and my God” [Jn. 20:28].
Now her Lord and her God tells Woman her mission.
She is not to hold onto him as if he were merely dead and risen.
She may hold onto him, however, as one ascended to the Father.
“Stop holding on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father.”
For now, Woman’s mission is to go into the heart of the Church, not out to the world.
Inside the Church she is to testify to the resurrection and the ascension of the Lord upon whom angels ascend and descend.
He tells Woman:
... go to my brothers and tell them,
‘I am going to my Father and your Father,
to my God and your God.’

In those words the Lord gives another new name.
In the Gospel, he has never called his apostles his “brothers”— not until now.
Now he calls them “my brothers,” sharing with them his resurrection, his ascension, his Father, his God.
... my brothers...
I am going to my Father and your Father,
to my God and your God.

In his resurrection and his ascension he has renewed and commissioned Woman, and he has renewed and commissioned Man.
He sends Woman into the heart of the apostolic Church, having her let go of mourning but hold on to faith in his ascension.
As for the Men of his Church, he would have them know that his Father is also their Father.
As to the Men’s apostolic mission to the world, the Lord does not tell that to Mary Magdalene, but will himself tell them and empower them for it by breathing the Holy Spirit upon them.
For now, Mary— Woman Renewed— comes to know her dignity and her mission within the Church.
Centuries later, St. Therese of Lisieux awakened sharply to the same mission of Womanhood, and wrote [in her autobiography]:
my call is love....
In the heart of the Church, my mother, I will be love,
and thus I will be all things....

With words of love and faith, words holding on to hope in the ascension of the Lord, Mary, now Woman Renewed, stands in the heart of the Church, and tells the brothers of the Lord, “I have seen the Lord.”
All of us in the Church, Men and Women, we have our dignity from the Lord whose Father is our Father.
We do not expect to him to satisfy us on earth.
Rather, we let go in honor of his ascension, whereby he enthrones our dignity, not in the tomb where his head and his feet had lain, but at the right hand of his Father and ours.
With faith, hope, and love— a trinity of power from God— we stand as his Church, and we own our dignity higher than the angels: “I have seen the Lord” who had died, but has risen, and has ascended to his Father and my Father.
Upholding our dignity in Christ, St. Peter spoke on the day of Pentecost what we heard in the first reading today.
Repent and be baptized, every one of you,
in the name of Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of your sins;
and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

My sisters in the Church, my brothers in the Lord, he has made all things new for us.
This is the day the Lord has made— let us rejoice in it and be glad!

That God Be Glorified in All


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