14 Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?”
She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, “Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away.”
16 Jesus said to her, “Mary!”
She turned and said to Him, “Rabboni!” (which is to say, Teacher).
Mary seemed to have noticed the angels staring at something or someone behind her, so she turns around. There, she sees the resurrected Jesus. But, of course, Jesus’ resurrected body did not look exactly like it did before his resurrection, and so she did not recognize him. She assumes that he was the gardener—“for who else would be in a garden that early?” (Farley, 345).
Jesus repeats the angels’ question: “Woman, why are you weeping?” But he adds a second, more probing question: “Whom are you seeking?” The answer is obvious: she wants to know where Jesus’ body is! In desperation, she begs the “gardener” for help. As Fr. Farley writes, “She thinks perhaps that Jesus’ corpse was moved because it was not permitted to lie in this tomb, and she fears that it may be left in a common grave. If this is the case, she will take loving custody of the body” (345).
But Jesus can no longer hold back his compassionate love for Mary, and so he calls her name. That is all it takes. “At the sound of Him calling her name, she recognizes her Lord at last. (Did not Jesus Himself say that He calls his own sheep by name and they know His voice?)” (Farley 345).
Mary cannot restrain her joy and cries out “Rabboni” (literally “My Teacher”, not just “Teacher.”). She cannot believe her eyes. In Fr. Farley’s words, “Mary joyfully supposes that her Teacher has returned to her, and that all will now be as it was in the earlier days. He will return with them to Galilee and there will be many happy healing nights when they can sit at His feet and drink in His Presence and be at peace” (345).
Well, yes and no…