“But Mary (Magdalene) stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. They said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping?’ She said to them, ‘They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.’ When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?’ Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, ‘Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Mary!’ She turned and said to him in Hebrew, ‘Rabbouni!’ (which means Teacher).” (Jn 20:11-16)
According to the Gospel of Mark, after His resurrection Christ first appeared to Mary Magdalene (Mk 16:9). The very first words uttered by the risen Lord, then, are two very consoling questions to a grieving woman: 1. “Woman, why are you weeping?” and 2. “Whom are you looking for?”
These are the two big questions He continues to pose to all men and women, to all of us, on life’s journey, with its tears and its yearnings: Why are you weeping? And who is it you’re looking for? It took Mary Magdalene a brief moment to recognize the ultimate, infinite consolation of these words. But for others of us it can take much longer to realize that the answer, the risen Lord, is right there in front of me. I can tend to misdirect my search and look for the answers in the wrong places.
Today let me begin my journey once again, and recognize the Lord’s loving voice, amidst any of my sorrows or yearnings, asking me: “Woman, why are you weeping?” and “Whom are you looking for?”