“I know that you are seeking Jesus the crucified. He is not here, for he has been raised just as he said.” (Matthew 28:5-6)
Three of the four Gospel accounts report that the Lord first appeared to Mary Magdalene following the Resurrection. Two of the Gospels say that Jesus’ first Resurrection appearance was to Mary alone, and the accounts include some description of Mary’s bewildered, frightened, and joyful reactions to the news. In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus appears to both Mary Magdalene and “the other Mary” (the mother of James and Joseph).
The women who followed Jesus could be found at the foot of the cross and at the tomb. In Mathew’s account, an angel appears to Mary Magdalene and the other Mary saying, “Do not be afraid! I know that you are seeking Jesus the crucified. He is not here, for he has been raised just as he said.” The guards who stood by the tomb were frightened and “became like dead men,” however, the women were overjoyed and ran to tell the disciples. On their way, Jesus appears to them, greets them, and commissions them to tell the others to meet him in Galilee.
As a woman myself, I can’t help but wonder why Jesus chose to appear to the women in the story. During the time of Christ, the testimony of women did not count for much, and they could not even testify in court. Who would believe them if they said Jesus had risen from the dead? As we’ve seen throughout the whole story of redemption, God does the unexpected and it's never an accident. This occasion is no different from the rest.
Rather than leaving these women paralyzed in awe, the angel sent the women to be the first witnesses of the Resurrection. They went forth as proclaimers of His victory over death and the mission of the Church began.
Our world still needs to hear this Easter proclamation just as authentically as it was proclaimed on that day. Our weary world demands a genuine and joyful witness. What a blessing it is to receive the message to “go and tell.” The message is alive in both men and women. We both are called to share the good news on Easter and beyond. He is risen! This reality is too good to keep to ourselves.