Feast of Saint Mary Magdalene
(II Corinthians 5:14-17; John 20:1-2.11-18)
Like that of St. Francis of Assisi, the life of St. Mary Magdalene has been greatly romanticized. Moderns like to picture Francis as a rebellious youth who formed a hippie-like commune. They see him leading his followers in a non-conformist life of peace and love. Historians find the real Francis more religious in sentiment and more intent on faithfulness to the institutional Church.
Mary Magdalene has long been considered a sinner – even a prostitute -- and more recently as the wife of Jesus. Again, scholars find her story less dramatic. Jesus does cast out seven demons from her, but she is more notable for her faithfulness than for her affection. She stands by Jesus when he is crucified and is the first to visit his tomb after the Sabbath following his death. She also is the first person to announce his resurrection.
We can have a similar relationship with Jesus as Mary. It entails accompanying Jesus by taking to heart the gospel and ingesting him in the Eucharist. It includes telling others about how his words and his love have transformed us. We should not minimize the positive effect that this relationship will have. It will build a happiness without end or limit.