The Feast Day of Mary Magdalene 7-22-2022

Today, we celebrate the feast of Mary Magdalene, whom Pope Francis has called the Apostle of the apostles: she was the one sent by the Risen Lord to announce His Resurrection to the Apostles.

Mary Magdalene, Martha, and their brother Lazarus were from a very wealthy family. We know they were friends and important people in the life of Jesus. Legend tells us they owned several pieces of property. Mary’s castle most likely was near the small fishing village called Magdala, Lazarus’s home was in Jerusalem, and Martha’s in Bethany. Mary was also the woman in the bible who had seven demons driven out of her. The number seven in the bible means complete so it may mean she was completely overwhelmed by whatever her problems were emotional, psychological, or physical.

In recent days we hear a lot about this family. In last Sunday’s gospel, we heard about Martha and Mary and Mary had picked the better portion. Today, we heard about Mary being the first to see the risen Jesus, and next Friday’s gospel, we’ll read the story of the raising of Lazarus.

While I was thinking about the relationship Mary Magdalene had with Jesus, I think of a couple on the dance floor. Have you ever watched a couple dance and thought, “Man, I could watch them forever?” The reason they are such a joy to watch is that they’re fluid, they flow, and they moved as one. To be able to dance as one, there are several things at work, they are listening to each other, one is following, and one is leading.

First, Mary learned to listen to Jesus and his word. We heard this in last week’s gospel, Mary sat at the feet of Jesus and listen to his word. She sat in a place usually reserved for the disciples of the Master. Learning to listen takes time and effort, and prioritizing things in life. It takes practice to hear Jesus’ whisperings in our lives and to allow our actions to follow His words of wisdom.

Secondly, to follow, to live so close to Jesus, his words, and teachings that you get the dust of the Master on your clothes. To follow is never easy but I think even harder for men. Men in our culture are often the leaders, the head of the house. But when it comes to following Jesus, it is about everyone, men, and women. In the world we live in today, we are told over and over, “Be a leader, Be strong, Be number one.” But following someone means to be number two, to trust them, to be comfortable in their arms and know they will keep you safe, and be there for you if you stumble and fall.

Thirdly, Mary allowed Jesus to lead her, and she put her trust in Him even in following him to the Cross. Her reward was the first to see him as the Risen Lord. I am not sure about others, but I know for myself I want to Dance with Lord who knows me by name and that means I have a lot of practicing to do to become a better follower.

If you have a minute spend some time reading today’s reading, Song of Songs 3: 1-4, Responsorial Psalm 63: 2, 3-4, 5-6, 8-9. In Songs of Songs, I can hear Mary telling of how she is looking for the one her soul loves. How she finds the watchmen of the city as she’s looking for the love her soul longs for. In the Responsorial Psalm, the response is, “My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.” I can just imagine Mary calling for her Lord.

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