11But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; 12and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. 13They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” 14When she had said this, she turned round and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? For whom are you looking?” 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.” 16Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher). -John 20:11-17
Mary Magdalene is one of Jesus' most well known disciples and most likely the most well known woman in the New Testament after Mary the Mother of Jesus. Mary Magdalene is the one person who in all four Gospel accounts is present at the empty tomb on Easter morning. Mary’s experience at the tomb in John’s Gospel (as we see above) is one of particular note as she meets the risen Jesus before ever leaving the garden where the tomb was.
At first Mary sees Jesus, but confuses him for the gardener. It is only after he calls her by name that she realizes that it is him. In calling Mary by name Jesus not only reveals himself to her, but acknowledges the deep intimacy and knowledge of her he has. This kind of relationship that Jesus has with Mary is not reserved for her alone, but rather signifies the kind of relationship Jesus desires with each of us and all of creation. Jesus tells us that God knows every hair on our head (Luke 12:7) as a way of reminding us just how important we are to God. In baptism we affirm God’s call on our lives and that God has loved us since the very beginning.
Friends, God loves each and every one of us and calls to us by name. When God calls you by name I hope that you respond with the excitement of Mary in the garden. But God’s love is not just for us, God loves each and every person and calls to them by name. As Christians we are called to make disciples of all nations, in other words help people recognize that God loves them and is calling to them desiring their response.
So may we learn to see others with the very same love with which God sees us. May we reach out to others in such a way that they recognize they are loved by God and respond with the energy and enthusiasm of Mary. And may we remember that God loves us and calls us by name.