22nd July 2021:
Feast of St. Mary Magdalene
Songs of Solomon 3:1-4 or
2 Cor 5:14-17,
Psalms 63:2, 3-4, 5- 6, 8-9,
Jn 20:1-2, 11-18
SEEKING AND FINDING THE LORD JESUS
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the feast of St. Mary Magdalene, a woman in whom we see the great story of conversion, from her former life filled with sin, wickedness and evil, into a new life filled with faith, devotion and commitment to God. St. Mary Magdalene was henceforth after her conversion, a true disciple of the Lord, often accompanying Him on His journeys, and even walking alongside Mary, the Mother of our God, to the foot of the cross at Calvary.
The book of the Song of Songs is a love story. Today’s passage presents the longing of a bride for her beloved. She travels throughout the city in search of her lover. She questions people about the whereabouts of the one for whom she longs. Finally, she encounters him. Obviously, there is a parallel with Mary Magdalene’s search for Jesus after His death and burial.
The Gospel passage tells the story of Mary Magdalene going to the tomb early Sunday morning to complete the anointing of Jesus’ dead body as He laid in the tomb. But much to her surprise, the tomb was empty. Therefore, she ran to tell the Apostles, which makes Mary Magdalene the first of His followers to witness to the Resurrection.
After telling the Apostles, she returned to the tomb with Peter and John and after Peter and John left, she remained outside the tomb weeping.
Mary’s tears are beautiful. They are an expression of her deep devotion to her Lord. She did not yet understand that He had risen, but her fidelity to Jesus is a testimony to her love. Jesus had restored her dignity. He freed her from the seven demons who tormented her.
The witness of Mary Magdalene is one that should inspire us all. We are all tormented in one way or another. We all sin. We all are weak. We all have a past we regret. And we are all invited to do better. Mary’s “better” was a life that was given to Jesus with the utmost fidelity. She didn’t care if the authorities saw her at the foot of the Cross. If they were to persecute her as a result, it did not matter. She was faithful. She didn’t care if the soldiers would have harassed her when she went to the tomb to anoint the body of Jesus. She only thought of that last act of love she could offer Him.
Dear Christians, One of the thoughts which strikes me from this feast and from the readings is the concept of seeking and finding the Lord Jesus. Like the bride in the passage from the Song of Songs and like Mary Magdalene on Easter Sunday, we should longingly seek out our Master and Teacher. We may have to search in various places and ask others about where Jesus is. But in the end, we will encounter His presence in the least likely place and only after much effort has been made in being in relationship again with our Savior and Lord. We must, as Mary
Magdalene did, be willing to surrender our old “demon- possessed” life and go in search of a new and deeper relationship with our Lord Jesus.
It may take spending quiet time, sitting at the feet of Jesus, as Mary Magdalene did. We might have to be present to others as they suffer, as Mary did at the foot of the cross. And obviously, we should be willing to long for the deeper relationship with the Lord Jesus, even to the point of going wherever we need to go in order to find Him.
If we do not recognize ourselves as sinners, we do not need Christ and the forgiveness of God to which he alone gives us access. We can’t even love him because we don’t feel the need for him, but if we recognize we are sinners and allow him with humility, to forgive us, we will have access to his love and to his life that will break into us.
My beloved Christians, Let us today learn from the story of Mary Magdalene that when we feel that we have too many sins, then that becomes an opportunity to repent and be overly grateful to God for offloading that burden. We should then hold on to Jesus the way a good branch is always attached to the True Vine who is Jesus Christ
May Saint Mary Magdalene intercede for us.