ST. MARY MAGDALENE & THE PIVOTAL ROLE OF WOMEN IN THE NEW EVANGELIZATION
First reading: Song of Songs 3:1-4
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 62(63):2-6,8-9
Gospel Reading: John 20:1-2,11-18
The Feast of St. Mary Magdalene, Apostle to the Apostles, invites us to embark on a journey of profound reflection and amazement at the pivotal role and dignity of women in the new evangelization. Through the readings of today, we are led to explore the greatness of the mystery of divine mercy and the transformative power of encountering the risen Lord. Mary Magdalene emerges as a faithful and devoted disciple, standing unwaveringly at the foot of the cross, encountering the resurrected Christ, and proclaiming the glorious message of the resurrection from the dead.
The First Reading from Song of Songs (3:1-4) portrays a beautiful image of the bride seeking her beloved. In the context of the feast, Mary Magdalene embodies this image, ardently seeking her Beloved, Jesus Christ. Her heart, like the bride in the Song of Songs, yearns for an intimate union with her Lord. As we meditate on this passage, we are reminded of the deep longing and desire that resides within the hearts of all believers, regardless of gender, to be intimately united with Christ. Mary Magdalene’s fervent love for Jesus exemplifies the depth of devotion that should characterize our own relationship with Him, drawing us into the new evangelization with zeal and passion.
The Responsorial Psalm (Psalm 62/63:2-6,8-9) resounds with praise and thirst for God’s presence. As the psalmist expresses his longing for God, we witness the same longing in Mary Magdalene’s heart. She faithfully followed Jesus, standing at the foot of the cross during His crucifixion, undeterred by the suffering and sacrifice. In her commitment to the Lord, we find an extraordinary example of discipleship and a reminder of the vital role women played as witnesses to the passion and death of Jesus. Mary Magdalene’s fidelity at the foot of the cross emphasizes the dignity and strength of women in their call to participate actively in the mission of Christ, making the new evangelization an inclusive and collaborative effort.
The Gospel Reading from John (20:1-2,11-18) unfolds the heart-stirring encounter between Mary Magdalene and the risen Lord. Mary Magdalene, the first to arrive at the sepulcher, encounters the risen Lord. In her grief, she mistakes Jesus for the gardener until He calls her by name, “Mary.” In that intimate moment of recognition, Mary’s life is forever changed, where the brokenness of sin and death is transformed into the beauty of redemption and new life. Mary becomes the “Apostle to the Apostles,” entrusted with the sacred task of announcing the good news of the resurrection to the other disciples. This extraordinary moment underscores the significance of women in the proclamation of the Good News and their irreplaceable role in the mission of evangelization.
The narrative of Mary Magdalene’s encounter with the risen Lord highlights the indispensable role of women in the new evangelization. It serves as a testament to the capacity of women to be ardent disciples, fearless witnesses, and fervent proclaimers of the Gospel. In a world yearning for mercy and hope, women can play a vital role in conveying the message of Christ’s redemptive love to all humanity.
Additionally, Mary Magdalene’s presence at the foot of the cross during Christ’s crucifixion underscores the depth of her faithfulness and her willingness to endure the pain of witnessing her beloved Saviour’s suffering. Her unwavering loyalty is an inspiration for all women to stand courageously in times of trial, to bear witness to Christ’s sacrifice, and to embrace the transformative power of divine mercy.
Dear friends in Christ, as we celebrate the Feast of St. Mary Magdalene, Apostle to the Apostles, let us recognize and celebrate the unique and essential contributions of women in the new evangelization. Like Mary, may women continue to seek the Beloved, thirst for divine communion, and proclaim the message of Christ’s resurrection with unwavering faith. As we draw inspiration from her life, let us be instruments of God’s mercy and love, proclaiming the resurrection from the dead and inviting others to encounter the living Christ. In this way, we participate in the new evangelization and become heralds of hope, carrying the message of redemption and salvation to a world thirsting for God’s love.
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© Fr. Chinaka Justin Mbaeri, OSJ
Paroquia Nossa Senhora de Loreto, Vila Medeiros, São Paulo, Brazil
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