I Have Seen the Lord!
A Poetic Rendition of What Happened
As I gathered my thoughts for this reflection, I was reminded of Fr. Rahner's quip: “Even if one proclaims the resurrection poorly, the resurrection still gets proclaimed.” The following bit of inspiration is taken from Sandra Schneiders' work, Written That You May Believe, in a section entitled “The Easter Apostle.”
Briefly, let us turn to the story of Mary Magdalen. It is still dark. The pre-dawn obscurity echoes Mary's own inner landscape. She is so distraught and overcome with hopeless sorrow that she does not even register surprise at being addressed by the angelic messengers. Like the story in Songs of Songs, she is in search of her Beloved. Eventually, Jesus does come to her. “Whom (not what) do you seek?” he says. Mary continues to weep with blinding sadness.
Finally, Jesus says, “Mary.” Then Mary turns. This is not a physical turning but the conversion of a pre-Easter disciple turning away from what lies behind toward something ( Someone) very new and beautiful. This One will teach her all her heart desires, and even more. Not being able to contain herself, Mary responds, “Rabbouni.”
Then Jesus tells her, “Mary, do not continue to touch me.” The actual literal translation is “Not me, continue to touch.” The emphasis is on the word “me.” “Go, instead, to my brothers and sisters,” Jesus says. “Touch them. Mary, our former way of relating is over.” Actually, at this point, I feel sorry for Mary. (Sandra Schneiders points out that the word “touch”, in this case, is not our usual understanding of the word but refers to interpersonal relating.)
From now on, Mary will meet the Risen Jesus, her Beloved, in the community of his brothers and sisters. There is somewhat of a mystery as to just how this happens. Furthermore, this is the first time that the followers of Jesus are referred to as the brothers and sisters of Jesus and of one another.
The Resurrection has occurred within Mary. She, who at the beginning of the story was in the depths of spiritual darkness, now joyfully runs to share all that has happened. “I have seen the Lord,” she says. “We are not left orphaned. He went away, as he said, but now he has returned. He is still with us, but in a different way”
Oh Mary, wonderful woman of God, on your way to the others, visit this house. With your own heart and voice, let us hear that we, too, will see the Lord in community and in one another.
Sister Mary Jo Loebig, O.C.D.