Easter is such a glorious celebration that I’m overwhelmed by all that has been said and written about this feast over the centuries! My first reaction is “What more could anyone say?” Nevertheless, I take up this daunting task by trusting that God speaks to each of us and encourages us to share with one another from the heart.
The appearance of Jesus to Mary Magdalene is my “go to” Easter story. Perhaps because He appeared to a woman . . . perhaps because someone gave me a prayer card with a poem about the scene when I was a child . . . perhaps because it’s rich with descriptive detail . . . perhaps because it resonates with me emotionally . . .
The dialogue attracts the believer with stark simplicity. Jesus calls out, “Mary!” By the sound of her name spoken by the Savior, she instantly recognizes Him. Haven’t we all had a similar experience? The specific way a family member, a friend, a lover speaks our name is unique. In a single intonation of our name we identify the speaker. That one-word utterance embodies the depth of a relationship.
Mary responds with a single word, “Rabboni!” In these syllables she gives voice to deep love and joy. Then Jesus sends her forth to share the good news of His rising. Buoyed by renewed hope, she hastens forward.
"Virginia!” Is Jesus calling me right here, right now? What tone do I hear as He says my name? Do I recognize the tender, loving sound that can only be His? Do I respond, “Rabboni!” as I give voice to my deep love and joy? Does Jesus then call me to bear the glad tidings of Easter peace to our world?
Whatever Easter Gospel story is your favorite, I invite you to spend some extra time this week as you listen to Jesus call your name.