Today we celebrate the feast of Mary Magdalene. Today’s celebration was raised from memorial to feast by Pope Francis on July 10 2016 because of the role Mary Magdalene played in being the first apostle of the resurrection. Jesus sends her to bring the good news of the resurrection to the apostles. When we reflect on some virtues about her, we will come to understand that her life truly reflects what it means to be a true disciple of Jesus Christ.
The Truth About Mary Magdalene.
Mary Magdalene is from the city of Magdala. The name Magdalene is attached to her name which actually reflects the town she comes from.
She is often mistaken with Mary of Bethany sister of Lazarus and the woman caught in adultery. It is good to note that nowhere in the four gospels was She mentioned to be a prostitute. Even the woman caught in adultery in John 8:3-11 has no name.
She was also believed to be the repentant woman who wiped the feet of Jesus in Luke 7:36-50, but needful to say that Luke does not mention the name of the woman.
Hence, when we go to Mark and Matthew’s account, the two gospels like Luke reports that the anointing happened in the house of Simon the leper.
Hence, from Mark and Matthew’s account, this happened in Bethany (Mark 14:1-11, Matthew 26:6-13). In these accounts, the name of the woman is withheld.
John in his account (John 12:1-7) reports that this anointing also happened in Bethany. According to John’s account, it happened in the house of Lazarus, Mary and Martha. Then John reports that it is Mary the sibling of Lazarus and Martha that anointed the feet of Jesus.
Hence, the fact is that this anointing happened in Bethany and not in Magdala. Therefore Mary of Bethany and Mary of Magdala are different. These are problems of mistaken identity.
That notwithstanding, Luke says that Mary Magdalene was cured of evil spirit and delivered of seven demons ( Luke 8:1-2).
Mary Magdalene Exemplar of True Disciple of Jesus Christ.
1 . She is a true disciple of Jesus Christ. She was believed to be wealthy and was helping to support the ministry with what they have ( Luke 8:1-3). Hence, Mary Magdalene teaches us to support the church no matter how little and whichever way we can. Find something you can do to help the church in ministering and touching souls.
Therefore, A true disciple of Jesus Christ supports the growth of the gospel. He can do that with his talents, financial support, gifts, encouragement etc. A true disciple of Jesus Christ does not take glory in fighting the Church. He does not rejoice to see souls wander away. A true disciple of Jesus Christ does not fold His or her hands to see things go the wrong way. He or she contributes her quota to see that the things of God are not going into extinction.
So, a true disciple of Jesus Christ does not rejoice in attacking and fighting Christianity, church, priests and ministers of the gospel or to pull down the church. His joy is to see that the things of God are working.
So, the question we are to ask ourselves today is “in what way are we supporting the growth of the church? It must not be financial.
You entered the chapel and see it appear dirty, yet you pay blind eyes to it. If we can sing, yet we keep quiet and see the singing ministry go down? If we can teach the faith, why do we not take up the evening Sunday instructions or take the role of teaching the youths and children in the parish?
The priest must not do everything. We can organise charity organisations to visit the aged and the sick in the parish. Like Mary Magdalene, in what ways are we supporting the church?
Why do we close our eyes to see the youth ministry go into extinction? We are there and our bloc rosary is not functioning, why do we pay blind eyes to it?
Your parish is lacking something and you know within yourself that you can do it, why not try?
Many people are losing faith and some are no longer going to church, what have we done in our efforts? Like Mary Magdalene, let us support the growth of Christ’s ministry. So, let us do them, knowing very well that we are doing them for God.
2 . As a true disciple of Jesus Christ, Mary Magdalene was there with the Lord both in good times and in bad times. Even when the apostles deserted him during the crucifixion, she was there at the foot of the cross watching from distance ( Mark 15:40, Matthew 27:55-56).
Therefore to be a true disciple of Jesus Christ is to remain close to Him. Like Mary Magdalene, it is the decision to remain faithful to God even when things are very difficult.
3. Mary Magdalene made sure she knew where they will bury Jesus ( Luke 23:55, Matthew 27:61) to keep her eye on Him, what an act of love.
When she came early in the morning and didn’t see the body of the Lord, she wept bitterly thinking they have stolen the body. This is a sign of true love. What marks us as true disciples of Jesus Christ is how much we truly love Jesus. Do we come to Jesus only in the time of need or do we come to Jesus because of the love we have for Him?
4.We will not forget her commitment. They buried Jesus in Jerusalem, so it is either She travels all the way from Magdala to Jerusalem and in the early morning when it was still dark to anoint the body of the Lord.
We can also say that she did not go back to Jerusalem after the Passover feast, waiting for an opportunity to anoint the body of the Lord. Now considering the distance of this journey, the sacrifice not to go home and the time she came to the tomb, we see that these are signs of commitment.
Therefore, A true disciple of Jesus Christ commits truly to His love for Jesus. He commits himself to the work of evangelization. A true disciple of Jesus Christ puts his or her heart to propagate the gospel message by word and by deed.
5 . Jesus rewarded Mary Magdalene with a special encounter He gives her the privilege to be the first to witness the risen Christ. Mary Magdalene recognises Jesus immediately at the Word “Mary “.
Therefore, a true disciple of Jesus Christ seeks Jesus with his whole heart and recognises when Jesus speaks. Jesus knows them. He says my sheep hears my voice I know them and they follow me (John 10:27).
6 . Mary Magdalene went and announced the risen Lord. The two messages are ” I have seen the Lord” and ” this is what he said to me”. “I have seen the Lord”, which means Jesus is real and He has truly risen. “This is what He said to me” means that His words are also true.
In essence, the true disciple of Jesus Christ is a living witness to the gospel. He is a product of an encounter. Through this, He tells the world that God is real and His words are true.
7 . Before Mary encounter Jesus, She was in tears. But after the encounter, Jesus transforms the tears of Mary Magdalene into joy. He satisfies her quest to see Him.
This is a pointer that there is always a joy at last for the children of God ( John 16:20-24).
Let us then be the true disciple of Jesus Christ. There is joy at last for the children of God.
May God bless you dearest and give you the grace to be a true disciple of Jesus Christ. May He continues to abide with you, Amen.