“Jesus said to her ‘Mary’ and she knew him.” This moment in today’s Gospel has always had deep significance for me. Mary recognises the Risen Lord when he calls her by her name. There is something immediate and intimate in this moment. She recognises him, because he knows her. She responds, because he calls her.
This speaks so deeply to us of our relationship with God. It is God who initiates in our lives, God who knows us and calls us. Everything that we do for God is a response to God’s call. God’s invitation is personal. It is distinct and individual. God calls me by name. God knows me intimately, better than I know myself. God’s desires for me are the deep desires of my own heart. If I really try to listen to God, like Mary, I may find that some of what I desire is not what God wants. That I have some disordered desires. However, if I carry on listening, God will reveal God’s desire at more depth.
In this story of Mary and Jesus in the garden we see Mary struggling with her desires. Overwhelmed by her grief and loss, she is at first only aware of the desire to find Jesus’ body. She is blinded by her desire to the reality that the one she seeks is in front of her. I can so well relate to this in my own life, to being obsessed with something and therefore missing what was really significant going on around me. When Jesus calls her, he liberates her. He touches her in her deep need, and so she is able to respond to him.
But then, he does not leave her where she is comfortable, he challenges her to be more. She wants to stop and cling to him, but instead she is sent to be the “apostle to the Apostles”. Again this feels like the dynamic of the Christian life – my first little “yes” always leads on to a bigger “yes”.
Can I hear God’s invitation? What deeper “yes” am I being called to say today?