Summary: Mary Magdalene has the biggest “narrative impact” on Easter morningI: “I have seen the Lord." Which speaks of her life-transforming experience.
John, called the Beloved Disciple, is clearly the hero of Easter morning!
He is spiritually superior with love and understanding; runs fastest.
Between John, Peter, and Mary Magdalene— all of whom were at the empty tomb on that first Easter morning— only John had faith in the Physical Resurrection of Jesus.
He “sees and believes” at the empty tomb without even having a complete grasp of the Scriptures that Jesus had to rise from the dead.
He is an ideal disciple.
We are invited to share his enthusiasm and faith.
The rest were slow learners.
E.g. a grandma said: “I was teaching my 3-year-old granddaughter, Taylor, how to shoot baskets on her child-sized basketball hoop. After missing three shots in a row, she gave me the ball and said, “Grandma, this thing doesn’t work!”
Yet, despite John’s faith, as some commenters note, the Beloved Disciple has "no narrative impact” because in John’s Gospel, he does not communicate his discovery to others. His coming to believe affects no other character in the account.
Rather, its Mary Magdalene, who was also a devoted disciple, and who was even delivered from demonic possession by Jesus (Luke 8:2), and she was also at the Cross with John—she has the biggest “narrative impact” although she was also the most clueless on the first Easter morning!
Why is that?
Maybe its because, as a new book on theory of social awkwardness says: the clueless in you honors the clueless in me. The author sums it saying that your cluelessness is usually worth sharing, because it can help others feel less alone. … It’s an understandable reaction to flee the situation that makes you cringe, but what if you could teach yourself to tolerate it?
John’s Gospel shares Mary Magdalene’s misunderstandings.
Mary Magdalene’s first misunderstanding was her stubborn persistence that someone had carried Jesus body away. So, the angels ask Mary a pointed question, “why are you weeping?” Which implies that, if she really understood the significance of what has transpired, she would not weep. But, Mary replies, again, that someone has taken away the body of the Lord.
In 1 Thessalonians 4:13, St. Paul says, that belief in the Resurrection frees one from debilitating sorrow, which can happen if you have no hope of a future life with Christ. However, important as that is, the Bible tells us in the book fo Daniel, and in the Last Judgment account, that although all bodies will rise again on the last day, not all will rise to glory (Dan. 12:2).
That is the challenge of the Resurrection.
Paul says, “If then you were raised with Christ, seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.” If we want endless life with Christ in heaven, this eternity starts now.
The Resurrection Jesus, where Jesus is in a Glorfied state is how our Lord becomes a life-giving Spirit, and through our mystical union with him beginning with accepting Christ, our baptism and staying saved, we share this now in this life; we have from him the true justice of God which makes us justified.
Next, when the Risen Jesus appears to her, Mary Magdalene does not even recognize Him and thinks that he is a gardener. It is only when Jesus speaks her name that she recognizes him.
Despite her slow start, Christ actually appeared to her first, and then he sends her on a mission to communicate this good news of his resurrection to others. She makes the first proclamation of Easter faith: "I have seen the Lord." Which speaks of her life-transforming experience.
In the Gospel of John, believing is a process.
Whether one believes nothing yet or has come to a partial understanding, believing is a process of uncovering errors and weaknesses and coming to a deeper, more authentic relationship with Jesus Christ, who is the Word of God.
This process is furthered only by one's own experience of the Word; no one else's experience can be a substitute.
The Fourth Gospel conceives of this sort of recognition as something that comes through the witness of the Holy Spirit and a spiritual encounter with the Risen Lord.
Peter is also an example of our call to witness to eternal life in Christ.
In our First Reading, he says that after Jesus’ death by crucifixion:
God raised him on the third day and granted that he be visible,
not to all the people, but to us,
the witnesses chosen by God in advance,
who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.
He commissioned us to preach to the people
and testify that he is the one appointed by God
as judge of the living and the dead!