Today we celebrate St Mary Magdalene which has recently been elevated from a memorial to a feast. Here is the gospel and commentary from the Bishops’ website.
Gospel John 20:1-2. 11-18
Woman, why are you weeping? Who are you seeking?
It was very early on the first day of the week and still dark, when Mary of Magdala came to the tomb. She saw that the stone had been moved away from the tomb and came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved. ‘They have taken the Lord out of the tomb’ she said ‘and we don’t know where they have put him.’
Mary stayed outside near the tomb, weeping. Then, still weeping, she stooped to look inside, and saw two angels in white sitting where the body of Jesus had been, one at the head, the other at the feet. They said, ‘Woman, why are you weeping?’‘They have taken my Lord away’ she replied ‘and I don’t know where they have put him.’ As she said this she turned round and saw Jesus standing there, though she did not recognise him. Jesus said, ‘Woman why are you weeping? Who are you looking for?’ Supposing him to be the gardener, she said, ‘Sir, if you have taken him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will go and remove him.’ Jesus said, ‘Mary!’ She knew him then and said to him in Hebrew, ‘Rabbuni!’ — which means Master. Jesus said to her, ‘Do not cling to me, because I have not yet ascended to my Father. But go and find the brothers, and tell them: I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ So Mary of Madgala went and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord and that he had said these things to her.
The Word of the Lord.
Gospel Reflection Saturday, Saint Mary Magdalene John 20:1-2, 11-18
In the long tradition of the church, including its artistic tradition, Mary Magdalene has generally been portrayed as the repentant sinner. This is largely due to her being mistakenly identified with the sinful woman who washed the feet of Jesus with her tears and dried them with her hair. There is no evidence to suggest in the gospels that she was any more a sinner than the other disciples of Jesus. [The gospels however mention that Jesus had driven from her “seven demons” Mk 16:9.] The gospel reading for her feast which we have just read portrays her as a woman whose devotion to Jesus brought her to the tomb early on that first Sunday morning. Her heartfelt devotion to Jesus also left her outside the tomb weeping tears of loss when she discovered that the body of Jesus was not there. She sought the Lord but could not find him. However, the Lord came seeking her and found her when he called her by her name, ‘Mary’. Like Mary Magdalene, we too seek the Lord, and, like her, we are also the object of the Lord’s search. Indeed, the Lord’s search for us is prior to our search for him. Even if we struggle to make our way to the Lord, like Mary, the Lord always makes his way to us and calls us by our name. He is the Good Shepherd who, having laid down his life for us, now calls us by name. In calling us to himself by name, the Lord also sends us out, as he sent out Mary Magdalene, to bring the good news of his Easter presence to those we meet. The Lord who calls us by name also asks us to be his messengers to others. Mary Magdalene, the apostle to the disciples, can be our inspiration as we take up this task.
The Gospel reflection comes from WEEKDAY REFLECTIONS: To know the love of Christ 2016/2017 by Martin Hogan published by The Messenger c/f www.messenger.ie