“Jesus said to her: Mary! The word had that unique inflection which Jesus gives to every name ~ ours too. . . Jesus calls us by our name and the tone of his voice is unmistakable.” ~ Reverend Francis Fernandez
"I will open your graves and have you rise from them." ~ Ezekiel 37:12-14
We pay a rare visit to the Song of Songs (SGS 3:1-4) in today’s 1st Reading on this the day our Church recognizes and celebrates one of Jesus’ first followers by way of the Feast of Saint Mary Magdalene. Oftentimes referred to as “The Bride’s Dream,” this passage from the Song of Songs is one rife with hope, a hope rooted in love, faithfulness and perseverance.
The maiden in our story encounters an intense longing, and with great urgency she goes forth with indefatigable hope into the city to find her beloved. Upon finding him, we are told she “held on to him and would not let him go,” drawing parallel imagery to the loving embrace that Mary Magdalene had placed upon Jesus when she first saw her resurrected Lord (John 20:16-17).
Our Gospel Passage (John 20:1-2, 11-18) highlights Mary Magdalene at the tomb, whereupon after deciding to follow Jesus all the way to the foot of the cross at Calvary, she is spotted outside the tomb very early in the morning, weeping bitterly. It is here where she encounters the angels and then Jesus himself, who chose her to be the first witness to the divine revelation that would go on be the cornerstone of our Catholic Faith tradition.
The story of Mary Magdalene‘s transformation and conversion is miraculous. This was a woman possessed by no less than seven demons. When Jesus healed her, thus setting her free, she was able to harness the many great virtues within her, the virtues of gratitude, perseverance, fortitude, compassion and of course love. She faithfully followed Jesus without concern or fear of where that journey might take her, and we of course know that this journey crescendoed at the tomb.
When Mary returned to the astonished Apostles with the proclamation “I have seen the Lord,” it is clear that she meant these words in a literal and figurative sense. If we can develop the clarity of mind and heart that Mary Magdalene carefully and painstakingly cultivated during her journey with Jesus, we too can do great things in his name. We too can “see” the Lord.
“O God, whose only begotten Son entrusted Mary Magdalene before all others with announcing the great joy of the Resurrection, instill in us that persevering love with which Saint Mary Magdalene clung resolutely to Christ, her Master.” ~ Amen