JULY 22

 

ST. MARY MAGDALENE

 

To St. Mary Magdalene was given the privilege of being the
first to whom the risen Jesus appeared. The opening prayer of
the Mass states that Jesus "first entrusted to Mary Magdalene the
joyful news of his resurrection," and the gospels tell us she was
sent to the disciples to make this reality known.

 

Who is this Mary of Magdala? Apparently not the woman, the
unknown sinner who anointed the feet of] esus (Cf. Luke 7 :36);
not the sister of Martha, for she had been wrongfully identified
with both.

 

From the Gospels we do conclude that she was the one from
whom Jesus had cast out seven devils (C£ Mk. 16:9 & Lk. 8:2);
that she is one of the women who ministered to the needs of
Jesus (Lk. 8:2), was a witness of the crucifixion (Mt. 27:56;
Mk. 15:40; In. 19:25), was present at the burial ofjesus (Mt.
27 :61; Mk. 15:47), and was at the empty tomb (Cf. Mt. 28: 1,10;
Mk. 16:1,8; Lk. 24:1,12). The gospel ofJohn specifically says she
was the first to whom the risen Jesus appeared. (Cf. In.
20:11,18).

 

Among the women who followed Jesus during his public
ministry, Mary Magdalene is always mentioned first, and it would
seem that she was the leader of this group who used their means
to provide for Jesus and his apostles. From the attention that
she is given by the evangelists we are certain that she was a
devoted follower, and because she received the privilege of
being the first to experience the Resurrection, we understand
that she was obviously greatly loved by Jesus.

 

In a homily that we read on this her feast day, St. Gregory

the Great suggests:

 

"We should reflect on Mary's attitude and the great love
she felt for Christ; for though the disciples had left the
tomb, she remained She was still seeking the one she had
not found, and while she sought she wept; burning with the
fire oflove, she longed for him who she thought had been

 

 

taken away. And so it happened that the woman who
stayed behind to seek Christ was the only one to see him.
For perseverence is essential to any good deed, as the voice
of truth tells us: W1wever perseveres to the end will be saved.

      (2 nd Reading, Liturgy of the Hours).   

                                     

Today we pray that we may "proclaim Christ as our living
Lord and one day see Him in glory," (Opening Prayer), and that
we be filled "with the same faithful love that kept Mary
Magdalene close to Christ." (Prayer after Communion).