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Thursday, July 22, 2004

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St. Mary Magdalene

Song of Songs 3:1-4 or
2 Corinthians 5:14-17
Psalm 63
John 20:1-2, 11-18

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love after love

"Jesus said to her, 'Mary!' She turned to Him and said [in Hebrew], '<i>Rabbouni!</i>' (meaning 'Teacher')." —John 20:16

Mary Magdalene still has the reputation of being a prostitute, but there is no Scriptural evidence for that. She is also thought to have washed the feet of Jesus. But that refers to Mary of Bethany (Jn 12:1ff) and an unnamed woman mentioned in Lk 7:38. More recently, some people have co-opted Mary Magdalene to be the model of the liberated woman. Jesus did liberate her from seven demons (Lk 8:2), but this is probably not what certain misnamed feminists mean by liberation.

Will the real Mary Magdalene please stand up? Mary Magdalene was simply a person deeply in love with Jesus. Everything we know about her speaks of her love for Jesus. She helped provide for the needs of Jesus and His apostles out of her resources (Lk 8:3). This was a simple act of love. She suffered at the foot of the cross with Jesus (Jn 19:25). This was a supreme act of love. At dawn, Mary Magdalene was at Jesus' tomb (Jn 20:1). She returned to the tomb and cried there. All these actions were expressions of love. She even said she would walk through the streets of Jerusalem carrying Jesus' body, if told where it was (Jn 20:15). This may not have made sense, but it was motivated by love. When she heard Jesus say her name (Jn 20:16), love opened her eyes to recognize Him, love compelled her to cling to Him (Jn 20:17), and love sent her to be the first witness for the risen Christ (Jn 20:18). Love Jesus as Mary Magdalene does.

Prayer:  Father, may I love You as You want to be loved.

Promise:  "I found Him Whom my heart loves. I took hold of Him and would not let Him go." —Sg 3:4

Praise:  St. Mary Magdalene focused so much on Jesus that she barely noticed two angels in dazzling clothes (Jn 20:12). All that mattered to her was Jesus.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert A. Stricker, December 13, 2003

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, December 18, 2003