‘Mariam’ – ‘Rabbouni’

How did Mary not recognise the man she had followed for so long? Was she so blinded by grief that she couldn’t think clearly? Were her eyes full of tears (her weeping has now been mentioned three times)? Or does the position of her body offer a simpler explanation? Mary has stooped inside the tomb and, at the sound of Jesus’s voice, peers out. Perhaps she is staring into the bright light of dawn, and Jesus’s body is silhouetted against the light, making him hard to recognise. Or is there a more theological explanation? The glorified body did not have the same appearance as his earthly body. We do not know why, but Mary thinks he is the gardener.

Whatever the reason for Mary’s inability to recognise Jesus, what follows is one of the most tender passages in the whole gospel: ‘Jesus said to her, “Mariam.” She turned and said to him in Hebrew “Rabbouni!”’[iv] Imagine how she must have felt, hearing that familiar voice speak her name. The experience would have been unforgettable. She would surely have repeated those same words whenever she told the story, at first to the disciples, perhaps to the evangelist, and to anyone who would listen, probably until the day she died.

Source: Thinkingfaith

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