As a mom myself, I’d love to know the answer to this one. To me, it seems logical that the woman who gave birth to him should be the first one to see him after the Resurrection. That said, God’s ways are not our ways; there was clearly some reason why other people got to see him first. Short of asking Jesus himself, we can only speculate …perhaps he chose his first witnesses based on who would be most critical in continuing his mission, say.
The fact that Mary didn’t get the first visit, though, doesn’t diminish the unique role that she played in Christ’s ministry. From the moment that Christ was conceived (remember that Mary was the first to experience the Incarnation!) through to the early days of the Church (note her presence at Pentecost), Mary was an irreplaceable part of Christ’s mission. What’s more, the Church believes that she continues that role from heaven, acting as an intercessor and powerful example of trust in God. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church says, “By her complete adherence to the Father’s will, to his Son’s redemptive work, and to every prompting of the Holy Spirit, the Virgin Mary is the Church’s model of faith and charity.” (967)