‘On the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early in the morning, while it was still dark’ (John 20:1)
Reflections on the readings for the Feast of St. Mary Magdalene (July 22, 2021): SGS 3:1-4; PS 63:2,3-4,5-6,8-9; JN 20:1-2,11-18
MISSIO offers “Preaching Mission,” as a homily help, providing connections to mission from the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
In today’s reading from St. John we see her meeting our Lord and hearing His instruction to let the Apostles know that He has fulfilled His promise and risen from the dead.
On this feast of St. Mary Magdalene, we honor the holy woman known as the “Apostle to the Apostles.” We know that Christ cured her from seven demons, although we do not know whether her great suffering was physical, mental, or spiritual. After this healing, Mary Magdalene became a dedicated follower of Christ and she, along with other women disciples, assisted Him throughout His ministry. We also know that she stood with the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. John at the foot of Jesus’ cross. And we also know from the Gospels of her role in going to His tomb on Easter Sunday only to find it empty. In today’s reading from St. John we see her meeting our Lord and hearing His instruction to let the Apostles know that He has fulfilled His promise and risen from the dead.
There has been a long tradition of considering Mary Magdalene a repentant prostitute. This probably happened because she was confused with the sinful woman who wept while washing Jesus’ feet and anointing them with expensive scented ointment. While this is no longer considered to be the case, we can certainly find in St. Mary Magdalene a beautiful example of fidelity and witness to our Savior. Indeed, Pope Benedict XVI addressed just how much she has to teach us: “Every Christian relives the experience of Mary Magdalene. It involves an encounter which changes our lives: the encounter with a unique Man who lets us experience all God’s goodness and truth, who frees us from evil not in a superficial and fleeting way, but sets us free radically, heals us completely, and restores our dignity.” Let us express our profound gratitude to Christ for dying for our sins and bringing us back to life in Him. Just as He rose up from the sepulcher and spoke to Mary Magdalene by name, He will ultimately do that with each of us who recognize and respond to His love.