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Resurrection. Chapter Twenty-one in The Alabaster Jar by Theresia Saers


Chapter Twenty-one in The Alabaster Jar by Theresia Saers

At dawn Mary’s friends, who have been just as unable to catch some sleep as she has, join her to prepare cloth, herbs and oil. When they hurry towards the site of the tomb, no one is held back by the thought of the heavy stone that must be rolled away by them nor of the guards that Pilate has provided. The women are silent, full of sad thoughts as they are. When they approach the place they find that the stone is no longer there to protect the opening of the tomb and that the guards have left it. What is this? The stone is gone? Have others opened the tomb and taken the Master’s body away?

They draw near and expect to find nothing but empty darkness inside. Indeed, the body is no longer there; only the linen coverings, neatly folded, bear witness to the fact that somebody has lain here. It is just as if the Master has got up and put his things away to be taken up again when he returns. But there is no darkness. Two beings radiating pure light are in the tomb, gazing at the women.

‘Why are you crying? Why looking for the Living One among the dead?’

While the angelic figures are still speaking, Mary Magdalene turns and stumbles out into the brightness of the garden, crying. She is not interested in angels, she wants to find her Master. Behind her she hears another voice, ‘Why are you crying?’ ‘Because they have carried away my Master’, she replies. Her eyes brimming with tears, she turns her head. Could it be a gardener, this man behind her? Maybe he knows more.

It is no gardener, but the Rabbi himself. But how could she, so upset, with the recent images of the bloody images of her Rabbi uppermost in her mind, recognise the person before her for what he is, her living Master?

‘If you have taken him away, please, tell me where you have put him, so that I can bring him back.’

‘Mary…’ Memories come flooding in. Her own name spoken by Jesus so many many times.

‘Rabboni! My dear Teacher!’

That is what he has always been to her, her teacher, her Rabbi, with words of eternal life. And she has been nothing but a faithful disciple fulfilling his every wish.

Far from me to even try to comment on what is happening here. It is clear to me, though, that Mary must have wished to protract these moments, to hold on to Jesus. However, he gently loosens himself. ‘Noli me tangere.’ Do not hold on to me… He has chosen to come and comfort faithful Mary Magdalene, but stay he cannot.

‘Do not seek to keep me. I must leave now. I will go to my Father. And you, please, find my brothers and tell them that I will go before them to Galilee. That is where they will see me.’

´ My brothers, ´ the Fourth Gospel tells us. A slip of the pen of a tired evangelist, who sees the end of his writing duties near? Or the normal words of a human being, wishing to delay the anxieties of close relatives first?

There is joy in Mary´s heart, because he is alive again and well, but obviously sadness comes to join it. But she would not be Mary Magdalen if she had not immediately run to carry out the Rabbi ´s wishes. She collects the other women to tell them what has happened, how she has seen the Master. They have their own amazing tales to tell of the angels that have spoken to them, but Mary ´s story beats them all. They hurry to the house where they expect to find the disciples. They knock. And have to knock again. The disciples inside are scared. At last a frightened face looks out. ‘Who is it?’

‘It is us, Mary and the women.’ Hands pull them in.

The women cannot wait to tell them, The Rabbi lives. Mary has seen him!’

Oh, no! This cannot be. The tomb is sealed. Mary cannot possibly have seen him. These are over-strung females. Too much has happened. They are no longer able to cope…

‘Are there no soldiers at the tomb?’ they ask. ‘Nobody can have removed his dead body? ’

‘No, no, not his dead body. Mary has seen the Lord himself. He lives.’

The disciples still think the women are hysterical. Women, they will believe anything, even the impossible. What would you expect?

Mary Magdalene insists. ‘The Master lives. He left a message. He will precede us into Galilee. That is the news we are sent to tell you.’ The other women confirm the good tidings, but, sad to say, the disciples do not believe.

‘When the women returned from the tomb they told all this to the Eleven and to all the others .The women were Mary of Magdala, Joanna, and Mary, the mother of James. The other women with them also told the apostles, but this story of theirs seemed pure nonsense, and they did not believe them.’(Luke 24:9-11)

© Theresia Saers

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