Today we celebrate the memorial of Mary Magdalene, first witness to the Lord’s resurrection and sometimes called “The Apostles to the Apostles.” She is also identified as the sinful woman who washed the feet of Jesus with expensive oil and her hair and sometimes, the woman healed of seven demons. To be sure she is one of the most colorful characters in the Bible but most importantly she is one of the most faithful followers of Jesus and the first evangelist.
A Model for Today
What does Mary Magdalene teach us about what it means to be a faithful disciple today? She is a model for me for two primary reasons. She is passionate! She is passionate in her love of the Lord. Her passion is extravagant like using expensive oil to annoint the feet of Jesus. Some of the Apostles thought it was ridiculous. You can imagine them rolling their eyes muttering “silly woman!” Jesus, however took the opportunity to see her actions as a genuine expression of love and an act that will have a deeper meaning as he moves closer to his own death and resurrection. Her passion will mature and become a source of strength as she walks with the Lord to his death and remains at the foot of the cross.
A Woman of Hope
On the morning after Jesus was buried she races to the tomb, grieving for her Lord and still wanting to be close to him. She finds the tomb empty. She is faced with something so inexplicable, St. Therese of Lisieux writes, Mary knows that the tomb is empty, yet she remains there weeping, hoping against hope. And, indeed the Lord has not abandon her.
The Lord greets her and gives her a mission to announce his resurrection! This passionate, sometimes extravagant woman, is given the most important task of Jesus ministry–to call others to believe the unbelievable. Does, she say “now way!” “Me, are you kidding me?” No, she leaves, the Lord, whom she thought she had lost and goes to Peter and the Apostles to share the news, I’m sure, imagining they will once again roll their eyes, thinking her grief is making her unstable. Some accounts say that Mary Magdalene even joined the Apostles on their first preaching mission following Jesus resurrection.
A Model of Evangelization
Mary Magdalene highlights three essential components of evangelizing:
1. Are you able to share where you found the Lord, when you went in search of him?
2. In knowing the Lord, we have found hope. How is your life different because you are a person with hope?
3. What good news do you have to share with others about what it means to know and love the Lord
Evangelization is first and foremost sharing the story of our faith, of our encounter with the Lord.
Give it a try by sharing with us where you have found the Lord…