Today’s Gospel reading tells us of St. Mary Magdalene meeting the Risen Lord. Here we see such a wonderful example of true devotion. Overcome with emotion, Mary weeps. Then she sees something amazing. Angels inside the empty tomb. It is interesting that they ask her why she weeps. Shouldn’t it be obvious? The syllogism could not be understood through her sorrow. If A, then B. A. Therefore, B. If Jesus died, He will rise again. Jesus died. Ergo…
So many times we can become deeply bogged down in sorrow, lost in the fog of pain, that we are not able to recall what the Lord says to us. He promises that He will never leave nor forsake us. And it is God Himself who makes this vow. Our reasoning process can quickly break down. In our frail condition, this is to be expected. God continues to bestow grace upon us. He continues to pursue us and draw us closer.
When Mary Magdalene turns around, she sees the Lord Jesus. Just as the angels did, He asks her why she is weeping. Perhaps there is some significance in the same question being asked twice. Perhaps we can dive a little deeper and confront the true question: why do we weep? We weep for our loss. We weep because things are not as they ought to be and we are so frustrated at our inability to make them as they should be. Our physiology betrays our psychology. But there is One who did make all things, and who will one day make them as they should be. We are powerless to do this, and ignorant of the means and timeframe by which it will come. This is also frustrating for us and causes us to express ourselves in various ways.
In this passage, it is almost as if the angels and the Lord Jesus are asking Mary - and us - rhetorically why we are weeping. We have the promises of God and an empty tomb. We have the Passion of Christ, where the final and perfect sacrifice for sins was accomplished. The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world was slain for us. When we think through it, we have no reason to despair. The more fully we place our trust in the promises of God, the more fully we realize that death is not the end. Suffering will not have the last word. Pain will one day be no more. Surely, we will still mourn during times of loss or pain. But we must hold fast to the confidence that God will transform our weeping into joy as He does for Mary Magdalene. Our mourning will not be as those who have no hope. We may begin weeping in sorrow, but this will yield tears of joy.