Eucharistic Readings for Mary Magdalene
Today we remember Mary Magdalene. “Mary Magdalene is mentioned in the Gospels as being among the women of Galilee who followed Jesus and His disciples, and who was present at His Crucifixion and Burial, and who went to the tomb on Easter Sunday to anoint His body. She was the first to see the Risen Lord, and to announce His Resurrection to the apostles.” (James Kiefer at http://satucket.com/lectionary/Mary_Magdalene.htm)
“Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; and she told them that he had said these things to her.” (John 20:18)
This is the second of the greatest (and shortest) two sermons ever preached. The first also comes from a Mary, It comes from Mary the mother of Jesus where she looks beyond the pages of the Bible and tells us, the servants or Jesus, to, “Do whatever he tells you.” (John 2:4)
We hear lots of biblical figures telling us what Jesus did or said. But these two women give us instruction about how we are to relate to Jesus as our Teacher. Mary, his earthly mother, bids us to obey Jesus. But Mary Magdalene shares with us the power of God in the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead. And then she runs to tell the apostles and us.
Of course they don’t believe her and have to go and see for themselves. Jesus chooses who He will. He chose Mary of Magdala to carry the word of his Resurrection! And that, she did.
Mary’s whole identity was caught up in, and based on, her relationship with Jesus. So also my real identity is defined by my relationship with Jesus. Jesus has released me of the demons of racial identity. I am not so much a black person as I am a Christian person. I am not so much even a man as I am a Christian. I am not so much an American as I am a Christian. I could go on and on in topics of political party, sexual orientation, branch of service, fraternities and so on. It would be easy to be controlled by any of these kinds of demons. All of these identities can be demons if they consume me. Mary Magdalene had seven demons that Jesus ridded her of (Luke 8:2). She, and I, became who we truly are in the realization of who Jesus is to us, our life coach and Teacher.
My heart goes out to Mary Magdalene when she stood outside the tomb crying because her Savior was gone, dead! All hope was gone as far as she knew. Who would protect her from future demons now? And then Jesus calls to her, Mary! And her life is renewed! Praise Jesus.
My brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus, we have choices. We can accept the tags and demons that society places on us or we can self identify as disciples of our Teacher Jesus. None of the labels that society places on us are eternal. Only Jesus calling us out into the light is eternal. Jesus knows our true identity. Jesus knows our true name and he will call us by that name just as he did with Mary. And we too will reply, Teacher!
Ponder anew what the Almighty can do. John+