Holding On to Jesus
Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” She thought it was the gardener and said to him, “Sir, if you carried him away, tell me where you laid him, and I will take him. Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni,” which means Teacher. Jesus said to her, “Stop holding on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father.” John 20:15–17
Mary Magdalene had been outside Jesus’ tomb weeping because she didn’t know what had happened to His sacred body. Jesus appears to her suddenly in her grief and she is overwhelmed, crying out “Rabbouni!” Jesus tells her to stop holding on to Him. Why would Jesus say this? What did He mean?
As we can imagine, this was a very emotional moment for Mary. She had been there watching the entire Crucifixion. She knew Jesus well and loved Him dearly. She watched Him die and now, all of a sudden, Jesus was alive and in her presence. Her emotions must have been overwhelming.
Jesus was not being critical of Mary when He told her not to hold on to Him. He was actually giving her beautiful advice and direction in her spiritual journey and in her relationship with Him. He was telling her that His relationship was now going to change and deepen. He told her not to hold on to Him because He had “not yet ascended to the Father.” At that moment, Mary’s relationship with Jesus was primarily on a human level. She had spent much time with Him, been in His physical presence, and loved Him with her human heart. But Jesus wanted more. He wanted her, and all of us, to now love Him in a divine way. He was soon to ascend to the Father, and from His heavenly throne He could descend to begin a new relationship with Mary, and with all of us, that was far more than one on a human level. From His throne in Heaven He could now enter Mary’s soul. He could enter into a new and much deeper communion with her and with all of us. He could live in us and we in Him. He could become one with us.
By letting go of the more human and emotional aspects of her relationship with Jesus, Mary could soon cling to Him in a way that she couldn’t do through her human interaction with Him. This is the divine marriage, the divine communion to which we are all called.
Reflect, today, upon your own clinging to Jesus. He is now fully resurrected and ascended, and we can experience the full fruits of the Resurrection as a result. We, with Mary, can now hold on to Him in our souls because He is primarily the one holding on to us.
Our exalted Lord, may we cling to you as you cling to us. May our heart, mind and soul be yours. Come live in us so that we may live in you. We give my life to you, dear Lord, help us to offer you all that we are. Jesus, we trust in You.