He is Risen! The apparent contradiction between Mary Magdalene and St. Thomas

fra-angelico-noli-me-tangereJesus is Risen in accordance with the Scriptures. The women are the first witnesses and among those women is St. Mary Magdalene, to whom Jesus says the famous words “Noli me tangere..” that is “Do not cling to me,” going on to a rather odd explanation of “for I have not yet ascended to my Father.”(John 20:17). Then not long after this He speaks to St. Thomas offering His wounds to be touched as proof of His Resurrection. While it is uncertain that Thomas actually did touch Jesus, he was certainly invited to. So why the difference?

It has been suggested that Jesus was responding to the two different approaches to His Resurrection. Mary Magdalene had seen His Passion, suffered with Him to the last and she loved Him with what many commenters put as an “earthly love” which was a real, giving love (agape) up to a point, but Jesus was more than an earthly man, He is God Incarnate and in His Resurrected Body He is Present in a more heavenly way than before. In telling Mary not to cling to Him, He is warning her that He is not staying in this form on earth now, She must begin to learn to love Him in a fuller way so that when He returns to Heaven she mustn’t lose hope, but have even greater love and hope.

Poor old Thomas, on the other hand, had felt the rug pulled from under him as Jesus was arrested and the news that He had been condemned reached him. When He is told Jesus has Risen, it’s more than his battered hope can handle. Jesus appears to him and show He is there Body and Soul, not a ghost or a walking corpse, but a truly Resurrected person.

The Resurrection was a massive shift for the apostles and disciples who all had their own personal view of who Jesus should be and what He should do. Even after all that had happened in the last eight days they still approached Him asking if now He would restore Israel.

There are so many flavours of Jesus among Christians even today. It’s very difficult not to cling to the Jesus we have made and to believe in the Jesus who presents Himself to us. But once we have met Him, we can’t help falling to our knees saying “My LORD and my GOD!” with Thomas.

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One response to “He is Risen! The apparent contradiction between Mary Magdalene and St. Thomas

  1. Pingback: The New Job: To the Ends of the Earth | hungarywolf

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