July 22, Saint Mary Magdalene

The purity of Mary Magdalene

On the first day of the week, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning, while it was still dark, and saw the stone removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told   them, “They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they put him.” But Mary stayed outside the tomb weeping. And as she wept, she bent over into the tomb and saw two angels in white sitting there, one at the head and one at the feet where the body of Jesus had been. And they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken my Lord, and I don’t know where they laid him.” When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus there, but did not know it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” She thought it was the gardener and said to him, “Sir, if you carried him away, tell me where you laid him, and I will take him.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni,” which means Teacher.  Jn 20,1-2.11-16

Today the church urges us to meditate on the holiness of Mary Magdalene. Even Peter and John, in the three years when they were with him, they did not love Jesus as this woman who, before starting to follow the Lord, was a prostitute. Mary Magdalene’s love for Jesus was formed from the merger of three distinct feelings: the charm of the Teacher, the gratitude for having been liberated and redeemed from the situation of public sinfulness and the gratitude for having experienced a feeling of truly pure love after a past which was what we can imagine. Despite the fact that someone, incredulous in front of the purity of her love for Jesus, has tried to humanize it and make it dirty, the love of Mary Magdalene was purer than a diamond. Perhaps, the only love which can be compared to that of Mary Magdalene to Jesus of Nazareth may be that one of st.Chiara to st.Francesco. We find the proof of such purity in the today gospel. Mary Magdalene is weeping at the empty tomb, when the resurrected Jesus suddenly called her by name and she instinctively, as a surprised child, replied: “Teacher!” In this sudden and uncontrolled answer there is the joy of seeing the resurrected Jesus, there is the respect for the Teacher and the proof of the purity of her love for him. Just because she has been able to combine in herself so well and so high these three components of his love for Jesus, st. Maria Magdalene may be prayed for help in situations sentimentally difficult to manage. We think of a priest who acts as a spiritual guide to a woman, of a professional man working eight hours a day with his secretary, or of any other kind of relationship which the devil, constantly lurking, always attempts to mess by birthing impure thoughts and feelings. The love of Mary Magdalene for Jesus has been also brave enough to make her present, under the cross, together with the Holy Mary, the mother of Jesus.

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