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Imitation of Total Love

Memorial of Saint Mary Magdalene

First Reading: Jeremiah 3:14-17

Return, rebellious children, says the LORD,
for I am your Master;
I will take you, one from a city, two from a clan,
and bring you to Zion.
I will appoint over you shepherds after my own heart,
who will shepherd you wisely and prudently.
When you multiply and become fruitful in the land,
says the LORD,
They will in those days no longer say,
“The ark of the covenant of the LORD!”
They will no longer think of it, or remember it,
or miss it, or make another.

At that time they will call Jerusalem the LORD’s throne;
there all nations will be gathered together
to honor the name of the LORD at Jerusalem,
and they will walk no longer in their hardhearted wickedness.

Responsorial Psalm: Jeremiah 31:10, 11-12ABCD, 13

R. (see 10d) The Lord will guard us as a shepherd guards his flock.
Hear the word of the LORD, O nations,
proclaim it on distant isles, and say:
He who scattered Israel, now gathers them together,
he guards them as a shepherd his flock.
R. The Lord will guard us as a shepherd guards his flock.
The LORD shall ransom Jacob,
he shall redeem him from the hand of his conqueror.
Shouting, they shall mount the heights of Zion,
they shall come streaming to the LORD’s blessings:
The grain, the wine, and the oil,
the sheep and the oxen.
R. The Lord will guard us as a shepherd guards his flock.
Then the virgins shall make merry and dance,
and young men and old as well.
I will turn their mourning into joy,
I will console and gladden them after their sorrows.
R. The Lord will guard us as a shepherd guards his flock.

Gospel: John 20:1-2, 11-18

On the first day of the week,
Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early in the morning,
while it was still dark,
and saw the stone removed from the tomb.
So she ran and went to Simon Peter
and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them,
“They have taken the Lord from the tomb,
and we don’t know where they put him.”

Mary stayed outside the tomb weeping.
And as she wept, she bent over into the tomb
and saw two angels in white sitting there,
one at the head and one at the feet
where the Body of Jesus had been.
And they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?”
She said to them, “They have taken my Lord,
and I don’t know where they laid him.”
When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus there,
but did not know it was Jesus.
Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?
Whom are you looking for?”
She thought it was the gardener and said to him,
“Sir, if you carried him away,
tell me where you laid him,
and I will take him.”
Jesus said to her, “Mary!”
She turned and said to him in Hebrew,
“Rabbouni,” which means Teacher.
Jesus said to her,
“Stop holding on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father.
But go to my brothers and tell them,
‘I am going to my Father and your Father,
to my God and your God.’”
Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples,
“I have seen the Lord,”
and then reported what he told her.

NAB

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Saint Mary Magdalene is one of the most beloved, impressive, and inspiring saints of the Church. It’s not wonder that great artists have painted her countless times because there are so many lens with which we can see her life; saved from demons by Christ she became his intimate, then the first of the disciples to see our Risen Lord, and the list goes on.

When I think of Mary Magdalene the trait that I most desire is her intimacy with Christ. She clearly was profoundly close to Christ, as a friend, as her Saviour, as her God. Christ came in and dramatically saved her life, not only from being stoned, but by offering her the forgiveness and new life in the Spirit. And she knows this to be true because the way she lives reflects it. She responds to Christ with a deep, unabashed love that never shies away or hides. She cries at his feet, she clutches His risen body. She is freely intimate with Christ as man and as God.

If only I could also have this intimacy with Jesus. If only I could lean on Him in my loneliness, my woundedness, my astonishment at being forgiven. And then to know His friendship, to experience His compassion and love in a tangible way. Then to let that knowledge change the way I live.

If I let that change take place, if I allowed Christ’s grace to transform me like Mary Magdalene, if I kept pursuing holiness like she did, what would my life look like? I think it would be free of worrying what other’s thought of me. I think it would crush fear. I think it would uplift my heart and mind and realign my priorities. I think I would spend my time joyously loving Christ instead of wondering what I could do to somehow earn the forgiveness already given to me.

That would be truly remarkable and that is how I want to emulate Saint Mary Magdalene.

Let’s pray that we grow in intimacy with our Lord in the way that Saint Mary Magdalene did. Let her amazing example seep into our souls and may her intercession on her feast day help us grow in the virtue of the love of God. Saint Mary Magdalene, pray for us.

photo credit

Christy Isinger is the mom to five lovely, loud children living in the Canadian wilds. You can find out more about her here.

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