Grace to you!
One of the most misrepresented figures in the Bible is Mary Magdalene. The impression that she was a prostitute grew around the 6th century. Unfortunately, there is no clear biblical evidence to justify this claim.
Luke 8:2 and Mark 16:9 hinted that Mary Magdalene is the one from whom the Lord drove out seven demons. But Scripture didn’t say those demons were as a result of her life of harlotry, or that she was a harlot, or that she lived a life of sexual immorality. Debates about this, what has been called the “composite Magdalene,” aren’t the goal of our reflection. However, I thought it appropriate to highlight this point here as a prelude to our less academic, spiritual reflection.
Mary Magdalene’s name is mentioned in the Gospels over twelve times, more than the names of many of the apostles. She was one of the very few whose loyalty to the Lord from the time of conversion to the time of the Lord’s crucifixion, burial and resurrection was unwavering.
In Mary Magdalene, I see a true devotion to Jesus. She should be a model to many who hardly allow their love of God to flow like a river in everyday life. Her love for the Lord was incredible.
Similarly, she wasn’t afraid to express her faith in Jesus Christ and she wouldn't be stopped by public rejection of the Lord after the crucifixion. She, alongside two other women, were present on the first day of the week at the tomb of Jesus to anoint the Lord. In fact, the Gospel of John mentioned her name as the only first witness to the resurrection; the only one who stayed outside the tomb on the first day of the week of the resurrection weeping because she didn’t find the Lord’s body (Jn 20:1-18).
Such a love is a pointer to what the saints will call mystical union. It's the love that goes beyond what is convenient and sees beyond the cross to witness the holiness shinning from the cross. It’s the love where the believer is so bonded in Christ that the only treasure of that believer, all that mattered is Jesus Christ. “Jesus the Christ, dead or alive, is my Lord.” It is that love which has been so detached from self-centeredness that it’s totally immersed in the intimate love of the Trinity.
The Song of Songs is a beautiful description of how a person in love with God longs for divine intimacy: “I sought him but I did not find him. I will rise then and go about the city; in the streets and crossings I will seek” (Song of Songs 3:1-4).
May Mary Magdalene pray for us. Amen.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Memorial of Mary Magdalene, July 22: Song of Songs 3:1-4B; John 20:1-2;11-18]
Fr. Maurice Emelu
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on the bible readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.