July 22, 2019 – Feast of Mary Magdalene
From the Gospel of John (20:1-2,11-18)
On the first day of the week,
Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early in the morning,
while it was still dark,
and saw the stone removed from the tomb.
So she ran and went to Simon Peter
and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them,
“They have taken the Lord from the tomb,
and we don’t know where they put him.”
Mary stayed outside the tomb weeping.
And as she wept, she bent over into the tomb
and saw two angels in white sitting there,
one at the head and one at the feet
where the Body of Jesus had been.
And they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?”
She said to them, “They have taken my Lord,
and I don’t know where they laid him.”
When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus there,
but did not know it was Jesus.
Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?
Whom are you looking for?”
She thought it was the gardener and said to him,
“Sir, if you carried him away,
tell me where you laid him,
and I will take him.”
Jesus said to her, “Mary!”
She turned and said to him in Hebrew,
“Rabbouni,” which means Teacher.
Jesus said to her,
“Stop holding on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father.
But go to my brothers and tell them,
‘I am going to my Father and your Father,
to my God and your God.’”
Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples,
“I have seen the Lord,”
and then reported what he told her.
Among the women friends of Jesus, perhaps Mary Magdalene was the closest to him. Mary Magdalene was closely following the Lord wherever he would be. Mary Magdalene was confident that God is in Jesus. She was most sure of it next to Mary, mother of Jesus. Thus, when the disciples fled and hid because of fear. Mary Magdalene together with other women remained. They followed Jesus until his death. Even when Jesus was brought down from the cross, Mary was surely there. Indeed, Mary was filled with grief and sadness when Jesus suffered and died.
Yet, despite the grief and sadness, Mary returned to that place of pain and darkness. She went to the tomb of Jesus. Why go there when it would only remind her of sadness and grief?
She went into the tomb at dawn, while it was still dark, the Gospel says. The darkness here means sadness and pain, yet, what is interesting was the dawn was breaking. The sun is soon to come out. Indeed, what Mary will witness is the victory of light over darkness.
Mary and her friendship with Jesus
This brings us into the kind of relationship Mary had with Jesus. Despite the grief and sadness, Mary did not just go away and give up even though her friend died. The sadness, disappointment and pain that she felt, urged her more actually to seek Jesus even in times of confusion and darkness in her life.
This reminds us of our experiences. When we too encounter difficulty and pain, sadness and frustrations, and even boredom in life, we might find ourselves to go away, to step back and become fearful.
There is something to learn from the friendship Mary Magdalene had with Jesus. It was a friendship that was beyond physical attraction and emotional attachment. It was a friendship built on trust, faith and confidence of being loved.
Even though Mary was confused and in pain, but, somehow, she knew in her heart that Jesus did not left them, and did not abandon her. She completely believed in Jesus. That is why, even in the seemingly senseless way of going to the tomb; Mary still went to hope against hope.
Mary recognized the Lord when Jesus said her name, “Mary!” Jesus has her way of calling the name of Mary and when she heard him, Mary opened her eyes from grief and sorrow and recognized that it was Jesus. It is the same as our parents call us. We would always recognize that it is our mother or father calling us. It is the shared intimacy that we have that make us recognize the voice of the person. The Lord also has his own way of calling our names. Discover how God calls us.
Each of us is invited to develop this kind of friendship that Mary developed with Jesus. How do we develop it? There are fours points to remember.
- Be with Jesus always and follow him. Wherever Jesus went, Mary also followed. Thus, always seek the desire of Jesus for you to lead you where he wants you to go. You may ask, “What Jesus wants for me today?” So, as you go to school, or work, at home or to any excursion ask this question so that you may follow him in your heart, in your mind and in your actions. Surely, when we are with Jesus, we will never get tired. We will be filled with joy and satisfaction.
- Allow Jesus to come to you and call your name. Like Mary, she allowed the Lord to come into her life and to call her name. Allow also Jesus to occupy your mind and heart. Receive him constantly in the Eucharist, through the Bible and through the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
- Constantly pray. Mary learned from Jesus in praying to the Father in heaven. Through prayer, Mary became more aware also of herself and of God’s presence. Thus, even in few moments during your day, pray. Even if you are at work, at school or at vacation, “tweet” with Jesus, speak “What’s on your mind?” and post to Jesus your “instragamable” feelings and concerns.
- Know that you are loved and forgiven. Mary accepted in her life that Jesus loved her and that through him she was forgiven. Despite her sins in the past, Jesus never condemned her, but accepted her because she is being loved.
All of these led Mary Magdalene to be ever grateful to Jesus. And because she was grateful, she was confident; she was filled with hope and became fearless.
“I HAVE SEEN THE LORD.” This was Mary’s Easter proclamation to the male disciples of Jesus. Mary have seen the Lord. Going to the tomb was never useless and senseless because even in the midst of pain and confusion, God reveals himself.
We may also ask ourselves, “Have I also seen the Lord, in those times of difficulties and pain in my life?”
Mary’s painful experiences had become the ground for God to reveal himself to her. Mary’s relationship with Jesus was also the foundation of Mary’s keenness in recognizing Jesus in her life. And seeing Jesus, empowered Mary to become the “Apostle to the Apostles.”
By seeing the Lord, Mary was sent to become the first Missionary after the resurrection of Jesus. Mary was sent and so we are. Each of us who have seen the Lord in our life is also called to proclaim to others, “I have seen the Lord.” Hinuat pa.
Jom Baring, CSsR