… Mary stayed outside the tomb weeping … she turned around and saw Jesus there, but did not know it was Jesus … She thought it was the gardener … Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him … “Rabbouni,” which means Teacher. (Emphasis added.)

Jn 20: 11, 14, 15, 16

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After Jesus death he appears to others and he is not recognized by them.  Here he appears to Mary of Magdala, one of his closest followers, someone who spent many hours and days with him.

How might one explain this?  That those who knew him might not recognize him immediately once he appeared to them after his death?

I suppose there are a number of meanings one might apply to this.

In thinking about it, I instinctively recall the Transfiguration on Mount Tabor, and how Jesus’ appearance changed at that time.  It seems like that is a kindred event, an experience that might tell us something valuable.

I cannot profess to have a rock-solid understanding of this.

Maybe it tells us that we are transformed into a new figuration at death.  Maybe it conveys the proposition that there is in all of us: Christ – and that having Jesus appear as the gardener is, at least metaphorically, making that point as if to say we are God’s Beloved and the Body of Christ.

It may say more than one thing.

The Buddhist say that mortal life is impermanent, but that we are in an eternal continuum – that death is not annihilating, that we do not end in death – that we cannot be destroyed by death.

Perhaps that is what we are to learn from Mary of Magdala’s experience of not recognizing Jesus whom she loved and knew very well.

Eternal life.  Is that not what we had once learned and relied upon?

Remember the question, and its answer?

Question: What happens when I die?

Answer: You will live forever with God in heaven.

Mortal life and its impermanence are overcome my this notion, this idea, this Truth and its understanding.  Death is not annihilation.  Mortal life but a part of our existence.  Take heart.  Have faith.  Live accordingly … and worry is diminished.

Live in Truth and hope is abundant.

Shalom.

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