Wednesday, July 22, 2009

July 22 - Mary Magdalene, Apostle to the Apostles

Mary of Magdala was found in the crowd that had turned on Jesus as He drug the cross to Golgotha. Fickle as people are, it is not especially surprising that they had turned on Jesus and now gloried in His agony and looming death. Equally unsurprising is Mary’s presence near Jesus as He walked the Via Dolorosa. After all, Jesus had cast seven demons out from Mary and began the beautiful process of conversion and redemption. Mary’s feet were planted firmly in the Kingdom and, for her, that meant walking alongside—or at least as close as possible—Jesus as He agonized in His journey. The Twelve may have fled for their lives but Mary continued to follow because of hers.


Arriving at the Cross, Mary waited with Jesus as He shed his blood and took away the sins of the World. She was present as they took the Lord God Almighty down from the Cross and buried
Him in the tomb. It is inconceivable what pain went through her as she watched Jesus slowly suffer and die. Who can tell the fear and desperation that passed through her as they carried her Lord and placed him in a tomb?


She went with the other women to the tomb on the third day and found it empty. She ran for Peter and others and told them of the emptiness that she had discovered. The emptiness of the tomb must surely have symbolized to her the emptiness of hope for the once-exorcised and now seemingly abandoned disciple of Jesus. As she stood there, weeping for herself and for her lost Lord, she sees a man approaching. In her desperation, she takes Him to be the gardener and pleads with him to tell her where Jesus has been laid. The man, Jesus, only calls out her name and casts the fear, confusion, and emptiness out of her.


She cried out, “Teacher!” and is comforted again by His presence. He commissions her, again, and gives her an important message: “Go to my people and say them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” She took this blessed charge and ran to tell them the blessed news. Mary had carried the Gospel message—Jesus has lived, died for our sins, and been raised from the dead—before any other and, thus, is well deserving of the title: Apostle to the Apostles.


Though others may overlook Mary and focus solely on the other disciples, there can be no doubt that this devoted follower of Jesus Christ was an apostle and citizen of the Kingdom of God. She was the first to hear the good news and the first to proclaim it to the world. As is the case for all conversions to the Kingdom of God, Mary was redeemed by the life, death, and teachings of Jesus Christ and made into an instrument of God’s redeeming love. Indeed, Mary—Mary who never abandoned Jesus and whom Jesus called by name—was a witness to the redeeming power of love over death and evil.

2 comments:

Monk-in-Training said...

Great post, Br. Joshua!

JHearne said...

Thank you very much, brother. You have no idea how encouraging that is and how much I needed it. The Holy Spirit has used you today.