This lover searches for her beloved in the night, just as Mary Magdalene went to the tomb before the sun had risen. The lover asks the city watchmen if they had seen her beloved, just as Mary Magdalene laments to the angels keeping watch that she doesn’t know where Jesus is to be found. As it was in a secret garden that the lover would meet her beloved, so Mary Magdalene first mistook Jesus for a gardener. And finally, when the lover finally discovered her beloved she took hold of him and refused to let go, just as Mary Magdalene clung to Jesus, after he revealed himself to her.
Mary Magdalene’s deep love for Jesus gave her the courage to overcome the doubts and fears that seemed to paralyze the disciples after the crucifixion. As a reward for her courageous love, Jesus appeared to her first and appointed her the messenger to tell the others the good news of the resurrection. Because of this, she has been honored throughout history as the “Apostle to the Apostles.”
Mary Magdalene’s courageous love is an inspiration and example for us, because so often we need courage in order to be a follower of Jesus. For instance:
• We need courage to trust God, when we can’t see the road ahead of us;
• We need courage to confess our sins when our shame would hold us back;
• We need courage to witness to our faith in the face of injustice and ridicule;
• We need courage to love others when we risk being rejected by them;
• We need courage to forgive, when we’re afraid of appearing weak;
• And we need courage to grow in holiness, when we fear the change that growth requires.
Mary Magdalene serves to remind us that perfect love casts out fear, because we love a Lord whose love for us conquered not only fear, but even death itself.
Readings for today’s Mass: http://www.usccb.org/nab/042611.shtml