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St. Mary Magdalene: The Apostle to the Apostles

Monday July 22, 2024

Few saints hold the significance and profound influence that Saint Mary Magdalene does. Known for her unwavering devotion to Jesus Christ and her remarkable role as the "Apostle to the Apostles," Mary Magdalene's life is a testament to the transformative power of encountering Jesus Christ.

Mary Magdalene's Life and Encounter with Jesus

Mary Magdalene's story begins in the town of Magdala, situated on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee. She was a woman of means, who, according to the Gospels, had been afflicted by seven demons before encountering Jesus Christ. This meeting changed her life completely, and she became a devoted follower of Jesus.

Mary Magdalene, along with other women, traveled with Jesus and his Apostles throughout his ministry, supporting him financially, witnessing his teachings and miracles, and being present at his ultimate sacrifice on the Cross. Her presence during these crucial moments of Jesus' life reveals the significant role women played in the early Christian community.

The Witness of the Resurrection

One of Mary Magdalene's most significant contributions to Christianity is her central role in the resurrection story. The Gospels recount how, on the morning of the third day after Jesus' crucifixion, she went to the tomb only to find it empty. In her grief and confusion, she encountered the risen Christ, becoming the first person to witness the resurrected Lord.

This pivotal moment, often referred to as the "Noli me tangere" (Do not cling to me), solidified Mary Magdalene's place as the "Apostle to the Apostles." She was tasked with sharing the news of Christ's resurrection with the disciples, heralding the most crucial aspect of the Christian faith. Her unwavering faith, love, and devotion to Christ exemplify the power of encountering the living God.

Misconceptions and Misinterpretations

Over the centuries, Mary Magdalene's image has been distorted by misconceptions and misinterpretations. Contrary to popular belief, there is no scriptural evidence to suggest that she was a sinful woman or a prostitute. Such misconceptions have arisen from confusing her with other biblical figures and misunderstandings of her true role.

However, recent scholarship and the Catholic Church's stance have emphasized the importance of understanding Mary Magdalene as a devoted disciple and a true witness to Christ's resurrection, restoring her rightful place as a model of faith and discipleship for all Christians.

Mary Magdalene's Legacy and Devotion

The legacy of Saint Mary Magdalene continues to inspire millions of Christians worldwide. Her unwavering loyalty, fervent love for Christ, and courageous witness to the resurrection offer invaluable lessons for believers today. Her life encourages us to seek Christ earnestly, embrace our encounters with our Lord, and passionately share the Good News with others.

In the Catholic Church, Saint Mary Magdalene is venerated as a patron saint of penitent sinners, contemplatives, and women. Her feast day, celebrated on July 22nd, serves as a reminder of her profound impact on Christian spirituality and her place as a crucial figure in salvation history.

Saint Mary Magdalene's life showcases the incredible power of encountering Jesus Christ. From a woman tormented by demons, she became the "Apostle to the Apostles," witnessing the resurrection and spreading the Good News with unwavering faith. Her story continues to inspire Christians to deepen their devotion to Christ, share His love, and proclaim the joyous message of the Resurrection. Let us seek her intercession and follow her example as we strive to live authentic and faithful Christian lives.

Her feast day is July 22.

Patron Saint of ...

She is is venerated as a patron saint of penitent sinners, contemplatives, and women.

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Daily Mass Readings for the Feast of St. Mary Magdalene

  • First Reading - Song of Songs 3:1-4b: In the night, the Bride seeks her beloved. She searches the city, and at last finds Him whom her heart loves.
  • Alternate First Reading - 2 Corinthians 5:14-17: The love of Christ compels us to live for Him, who died and was raised for us. In Christ, we become a new creation, leaving the past behind.
  • Responsorial Psalm - Psalm 63: My soul longs for God, like parched earth craves water. In His sanctuary, I seek His power and glory, for His kindness is better than life. My soul finds satisfaction in praising Him. God is my help, and I cling to Him in joy and trust.
  • Gospel - John 20:1-2, 11-18: On the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene goes to Jesus' tomb and finds it empty. Distraught, she weeps outside the tomb. Jesus appears to her and asks why she is crying, and she mistakes Him for the gardener. When He calls her by name, she recognizes Him, and Jesus instructs her to go and tell His disciples about His resurrection. Mary Magdalene becomes the first witness of Jesus' resurrection.

Homilies and Reflections

The Earthshaking Resurrection

On the Feast of St. Mary Magdalene, Bishop Robert Barron explains that we celebrate the first witness of Christ's rising, who declared the Resurrection to the Apostles. The Easter faith is an explosive revolution, signifying Jesus' real and bodily Resurrection through the power of the Holy Spirit, not a mere symbol or metaphor. The claim that Jesus rose from death is not a modern fantasy but the testimony of the first witnesses. This event fulfills the ancient hope of Israel for the union of heaven and earth. The bodily Resurrection signifies the coming together of the two orders, exemplified by the central line in the Lord's Prayer: "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven."

Apostle of Mercy and Witness of Resurrection

On the Feast of St. Mary Magdalene, we honor her as a powerful example of God's mercy and grace. Scripture tells us that Jesus cast out seven demons from her, and she became a faithful follower who witnessed His crucifixion and resurrection. As the first to adore Him after His resurrection, her loyalty and love made her the "Apostle of the Apostles." Her story reminds us that no one is beyond God's saving grace, and we are called to share the good news of His mercy with the world.

Touching Jesus: A Lesson in Faith

In this video, Scott Hahn explains the significance of Jesus' words to Mary Magdalene at the empty tomb in John 20:11-18. Jesus tells Mary not to touch Him, not because He doesn't want her near, but because He wants her to understand that their relationship has transcended the physical realm. Instead, He invites Thomas to touch Him, not physically, but through faith, recognizing Him in His resurrected glory, which extends to all believers in the Holy Eucharist. This encounter teaches us to see Jesus not in nostalgia, but in the present reality of our faith.

Quotes and Social Media Graphics

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I have seen the lord
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Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord,” and then reported what he told her.

Saint Mary Magdalene
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In the gospel of John, St. Mary Magdalene encounters Jesus at the tomb. She recognizes him when he speaks her name. He instructs her to go tell the disciples what she has seen. She runs to them and says “I have seen the Lord!”. For this reason, she is called the Apostle of the Apostles.

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