Letting go of things is harder than we can sometimes even admit. I think that’s what was going on with Mary Magdalene. And we are just like her: we want to hold on to things and people as they are, because what is familiar is so very comfortable to us. I think sometimes that’s true regardless of whether the familiar is positive or negative. So many times we hold on to whatever we have and refuse to let them go because it’s as if we’re afraid we’ll be giving away some piece of ourselves. So then what happens is that we hang on to images of ourselves or other people in our life that are outdated, and stifle any room for growth. We hang on to resentments or past hurts and never give any chance for healing. We hang on to unhealthy relationships and never give ourselves a chance to break the cycle of pain they bring. We hang on to bad work situations and miss following our true calling.
What Mary needed to hear from Jesus in today’s Gospel was that she had to stop hanging on to things as they were, and to allow God’s promise to be fully revealed. The time for mourning was over, it was now time to rejoice and begin spreading the word that the Gospel was coming to its fruition. She had to begin that by going and spreading the word to the other disciples.
We too, have to stop grieving our past hurts and resentments and outdated notions of the world, ourselves and our relationships so that God’s promise can be fully revealed in us. The message of Easter joy means that we must begin that by spreading the news that Jesus is doing something new in us and in our world, and make sure that everyone knows about it. We can do that by examining our lives every day and reflecting on what God is doing in us and how we are responding to it. This is the kind of daily reflection that will help us to let go of what is unhelpful and grasp firmly to that which will lead us to Christ.
As we continue to live lives of conversion like this, we too can proclaim with Mary Magdalene on this Easter day, and every day, “We have seen the Lord!”