Saint Mary Magdalene
Exodus 14:5-18; (Psalm) Exodus 15:1-6;John 20:1-2, 11-18
“I have seen the Lord.” (John 20:18)
Mary Magdalene had been plagued by demons, and Jesus delivered her. Out of gratitude for her healing, she joined the band of women who helped provide for Jesus as he traveled from Galilee to Jerusalem (Luke 8:2-3). Imagine what it must have been like to see him perform miracles and hear him preach every day. Imagine, too, the loyalty that Mary displayed on Good Friday. Most of Jesus’ disciples fled in fear at his arrest, but she stood by him as he died, a true disciple to the end (John 19:25).
Still, even that courageous act wasn’t enough. While everyone else remained hidden, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb to perform one last act of service: anoint his body according to Jewish tradition. She was grief-stricken, but still she wanted to honor the memory of all Jesus had done for her. Then her sorrow was turned into joy when she encountered first an empty tomb and then Jesus, risen from the dead! Calling her by name, Jesus freed Mary yet again—this time from grief. With a single word, “Mary,” she was revived. And her single-word reply, “Rabboni,” contained not only relief and joy but a pledge of undying faith.
Jesus first appeared not to the rulers of Israel, nor to the twelve apostles but to a woman with a disturbed past whose life had been dramatically turned around. She became the first witness of the resurrection, the one who would have the honor of being the “apostle to the apostles.”
Once again, Jesus did something unexpected. He chose someone unexpected, someone many would have disregarded, for one of the greatest honors of history. Whatever kind of bondage Mary had suffered, it didn’t disqualify her in Jesus’ eyes. And neither are we disqualified, whether by past sins or current disabilities. Jesus came for just this reason, to deliver us from all that binds us and to fill us with the dignity children of God. He calls us, each by name, to share in eternal life with him and transforms us through the power of his Holy Spirit so that we, too, can be witnesses to his resurrection.
“Jesus, you are the hope of glory! My heart rejoices at the sound of your voice. Thank you for awakening hope in me and lifting me up to new life in you.”