Good morning, happy Tuesday, and many blessings.
Today we celebrate the feast of Mary Magdalene, whom Pope Francis calls the Apostle of the apostles: she was the one sent by the Risen Jesus to announce the Resurrection to the Apostles. I reflect on the important role this woman was given by Jesus, and on the role of women in the Church today. I thank God for all the women who helped me know Jesus better, and pray that the Church finds ways of giving women their proper place in her ministry and leadership structures.
I have seen the Lord! This was Mary’s message: the apostle of the resurrection can only be a witness, someone who has already met the Risen Jesus. I look at my relationship with Jesus and ask for the grace to know him better so that I can take him to others out of the fullness of my heart.
In John 20:11-18 we learn that the most exciting news in all history was announced to the women who had come to Jesus’ tomb to complete the burial rites. Jesus was no longer there for He had risen from the dead just as He had said He would. The resurrection is the pivotal point of human history. All those who were righteous in times previous looked forward to when their sins would be paid for and the curse of death would be broken. All those who have been righteous since that time have looked back to this event as the assurance of the promise that their sins have been paid for and death has been conquered.
The Apostle Paul made it clear in 1 Cor. 15:17-19 that without the resurrection of Jesus Christ, there is no hope. “and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.” But we are not people to pitied, but people to be envied, because as Paul states in verse 20, “But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep.” Our hope is not a wish, but a confidence assurance based in the promises of God. Christ has been raised from the dead and so shall we.
Through the resurrection of Jesus, we celebrate the joy of his victory over sin and death. It is the basic tenet of the Christian faith. How does the grace of the Resurrection affect me? I pray that I may welcome with joy the message of the risen Jesus, believing in the power of his presence in my life.
A lone woman is the first person to meet the risen Lord. She becomes the apostle of the apostles who were immobilized by grief and despair. In a world wary of women and their role in society, Jesus gives her first place in the task of sharing the Good News. The dignity of women is immortalized.
The Risen Jesus does not let Mary cling to him but sends her on a mission, telling others he is risen. What do I feel Jesus sending me to do, after my personal encounter with him after his resurrection? I pray for the grace not to be deaf to this call, but ready to respond to it with generosity.