THURSDAY, SIXTEENTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
St Mary Magdalene, Feast
Song 3:1-4 or 2 Cor 5:14-17 Ps 63:2-9 Jn 20:1-2,11-18
BECAUSE SHE HAS LOVED MUCH!
‘Apostolorum Apostola,’ as rightly named by St Thomas Aquinas, the church today celebrates the feast of St Mary Magdalene, the apostle to the apostles. In the year 2016, the church elevated this memorial to a feast, thus giving her a place on par with the apostles. A Jewish woman born in the fishing town Magdala, she stands as a prominent figure by being the most mentioned in the gospels. Sadly, she also finds herself in several scholarly disputes along with the distorted versions which wrongly judge her spiritual affinity and intimacy with Jesus. Nevertheless, the Church receives Mary Magdalene with the same affection and devotion that Jesus received her!
The feast of this ‘woman apostle’ rightfully calls upon us to reflect more deeply on the dignity of women, the new evangelization and the greatness of the mystery of the divine mercy. Mary Magdalene accompanied Jesus in his ministry and was present during his crucifixion and resurrection. Today’s gospel lucidly narrates how Mary was filled with anguish as she searched in tears for the Lord’s missing body. She longed for him who had purified her and made her worthy to be a recipient of his love. The Lord, in return, rewarded her with his resurrected manifestation. She became the primary witness of the fulfilment of his promise to rise from the dead. Also, she became the first person to spread the news of his resurrection to the disciples, thus becoming ‘the apostle to the apostles.’ All because, ‘…she loved much.’ (Lk 7:47)
Mary Magdalene was special! In a male-dominated society, she proved that love breaks all barriers. While the apostles fled Jesus’ company at the Crucifixion, she braved all to remain till the end at the Cross, and her love made her the earliest at the grave. Today, on her as we celebrate her feast, we pray that she may inspire each one of us, that once we truly love Jesus, nothing can prevent us from being a witness of his love.
Response: For you my soul is thirsting, O Lord, my God.
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