But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.” Saying this, she turned round and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom do you seek?” Supposing Him to be the gardener, she said to Him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to Him in Hebrew, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Do not hold me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brethren and say to them, I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” Mary Magdalene went and said to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; and she told them that He had said these things to her.

John 20:11-18

(Eighth Eothinon Gospel)

Christ is Risen!

Each day, in this series on the post-Resurrection Eothinon Gospels, I have placed the corresponding “Doxastikon” hymn as the prayer I have at the end of each reflection. Both the eight verses of scripture and this hymn seem to paint Mary Magdalene in a poor light. She is shown first weeping and failing to understand why the tomb is empty. Then when she recognizes Jesus and reaches out to embrace Him, she is told not to do so.

I want to focus today on two things. The first is when Jesus called her by name and said “Mary.”  What more of a personal call could there be? In her moment of confusion—“Where have they taken the Lord?” and, “Are you the gardener?” Jesus called her by her name “Mary.” He knew her. And when she heard His voice, she was immediately pulled out of her grief and said, with confidence “Rabboni”. She recognized the voice of her teacher.

In the midst of our stresses of life, Jesus calls us. He calls us by name. He knows each of our names. He calls us by talent. He calls us by opportunity. For He has made a different name, a different talent and a different opportunity for each of us. The challenge for us is, are we listening? Do we hear His unique call to each of us? Do we know His voice? Do we recognize His voice when we hear it? Are we quiet enough to hear His voice calling to us?

The second thing I want to focus on is what Mary Magdalene did after her encounter with the Lord. She went to the Disciples and declared “I have seen the Lord” and she told them that He had said these things to her. This is a call to us also. If we are open to “hearing” the voice of the Lord calling to us, what, then do we do with that? Do we tell others what the Lord “speaks” to us? This doesn’t mean that literally we have a conversation with the Lord and we tell people the details of the conversation. However, if we are “hearing” the voice of the Lord and that voice tells us to be a priest, or a parent or a teacher, or to be kind, or to try harder, or to encourage others, do we then go and do what we’ve been told? Are we a voice of kindness and encouragement? Do we do our best in the job the Lord has called us to do?

The Lord calls each of us in a personal way. He calls us into a personal relationship with Him. He calls each of us in a unique way, with talents and gifts that are unique to us. The challenge for each of us is to hear the call and to answer it, and not just once. This is a daily choice. To listen. To answer. To share with others the call that God has given each of us.

Mary’s fervent tears were not she din vain, for she was found worthy to hear the angels teaching and to see Your face, O Christ. But her thoughts were earthly—those of a weak woman. Therefore, she was sent away and was told not to touch You, O Christ. But she was sent as a herald to the disciples, and proclaimed to them the good news of Your ascension to You paternal inheritance. With her make us also, worthy, O Lord our Master. (Eighth Eothinon Doxastikon, Trans. by Holy Cross Seminary Press, 1991)

Listen to the Lord in prayer today and answer His call for your life in some way today.


Fr. Stavros Akrotirianakis

Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis is the Proistamenos of St. John Greek Orthodox Church in Tampa, FL. Fr. contributes the Prayer Team Ministry, a daily reflection, which began in February 2015. The Prayer Team now has its own dedicated website! Fr. Stavros has produced multiple books, you can view here: https://amzn.to/3nVPY5M


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