When Jesus encounters Mary of Magdala in the resurrection garden of John’s gospel, there is turning going on. Look closely at the text (it follows below).
1. She cannot see the jesus she is expecting to see.
2. She turns towards a person (Jesus) but cannot see him because she does not see, standing before her, the kind of broken, bloody corpse she is expecting to find in early stages of decomposition.
3. Jesus has a conversation with her and still she cannot truly see him.
4. Jesus calls her name.
5. She finally recognizes (re-knows) Jesus
6. In response to seeing Jesus, Mary turns again (but this cannot be a physical turning or else she would be facing away from him, since she turned towards him earlier in the story)
7. This second turning was an interior turning. She lets things become new.
So, the Easter question is easy: What are we holding onto which needs to be let go of? What kind of interior turning is required of you and me now that we have heard the resurrected Jesus call our name?
John’s Gospel, Chapter 20:
But Mary 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). Jesus said to her, “Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, `I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'” Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; and she told them that he had said these things to her.