July 22, 2020
St Mary of Magdalene was a close follower of Jesus Christ. In Luke chapter 8, she is revealed as one of the women who shared their resources with the Lord. Mary very well may have been a wealthy person from the fishing town of Magdala off the Sea of Galilee. She probably bank-rolled part of Jesus’ ministry, and presumably traveled with the Lord and his followers to various events. A common misconception in the Western Church has been that Mary of Magdala was a prostitute who had seven demons cast out. This is NOT accepted today by modern biblical scholars. Mary knew the Lord, loved the Lord, and followed the Lord. Of all the women in scripture, Mary Magdalene stands out as having the closest relationship with Jesus and is cited more often than all other women in the New Testament. She is present in Jerusalem for Passover, the crucifixion, the burial and resurrection. All four canonical Gospels have the Magdalene present at the empty tomb, either alone or with others; hence she is most privileged to be there, and the first to see the risen Lord. Alleluia!! She also is cited more times in the New Testament than most of the apostles, something most of us did not realize. So what does this mean? Obviously, she was special to Jesus and was known in the early Church. She is the first person He speaks to by name after His resurrection. Mary seems to not have recognized Him physically, but she immediately recognized His voice. “My sheep know my voice,” that is, the voice of the Good Shepherd. She responds, “Rabboni!”, or Teacher. Truly Jesus was her teacher and Lord, and He is our teacher and Lord as well. We marvel with St Mary Magdalene about the Lord, and we are challenged to follow him, to share our resources with Jesus and His Church. We marvel to ponder Jesus in love, as Mary did.
We are invited to ask, to seek, and to knock. The seeker has been found, the lost sheep has been found by the Lord, and the Christ has found Mary. The limited meets the limitless, the worldly meets the other worldly, and the physical meets the metaphysical. Christ’s victory over sin and death is first manifested to Mary of Magdala, the woman from the fishing village on the west side of the Sea of Galilee. And where does she send his disciples to meet the risen Lord? To Galilee where it all began. Jesus called her by name: “Mary.” And Mary, through tears and heartache, says “Rabboni!” The lesson is almost complete; let us listen intently. The search is over; we have been found…
“It is the Lord!”
St Mary Magdalene pray for us!!
Fr. Curtis Kiddy, C.P. St Paul of the Cross Monastery, Pittsburgh Pa.