In the gospel read on Easter Sunday morning where Mary Magdalene goes to the tomb and finds it empty, she meets a stranger, whom she thinks is the gardener, and asks him where they have taken the body of the Lord. She presumes his body is dead but missing. And then Christ speaks her name: “Mary!”, and suddenly she recognizes who it is speaking to her – it is the Lord!
Mary then attempts to do what any one of us would do if we were to see someone we had known was dead, standing there right in front of us, alive. She moved towards him to embrace him.
That would have seemed to have been a normal enough thing for her to do given the situation, but quite unexpectedly, our Lord, who is always loving, compassionate, and desirous of being close, repels Mary with words that, perhaps we’ve never really given a great deal of thought: “Do not touch me yet, for I have not yet ascended to my Father.”
Jesus was giving his Church a message, not only the one of the Resurrection to be told by Mary to the other disciples, but a message about Eucharist. There would be a new way of touching the Lord, in his Body and his Blood in the Eucharist!
Blessed Easter! (Fr. Charles)