Mary Magdelene’s Feast Day brings back memories of a friend’s wedding when I was asked to give a toast to the bride. I am sure people thought it was odd that I would liken her to a woman many think to be a former prostitute but I knew my friend’s heart and I knew she was a true friend of Christ’s who loved him dearly.
Mary Magdelene was a faithful follow of Jesus who after his death was the first to see him and to bear witness to the resurrection. In the recent mini-series AD: The Bible Continues Mary Magdelene is a strong woman who guides men like Peter into making wise decisions. I am sure she learned much being a beloved friend of Jesus. We can see in that television series the fruits of her relationship with him in how she lives out her life after he ascends to heaven. She is challenging and wise, gentle and caring.
Knowing Jesus as a friend, as a woman, brings hope and courage. When I look at Mary Magdalene, I know that my many sins are forgiven. I see her great gratitude and know that she is a model for living with a heart full of praise and thanks. She reminds me that I need to spread the Good News that Christ is risen and very much alive. His redeeming power working in us allows us to bear much fruit. His mercy and love transform us into creatures that can praise, honour and serve him.
I love that Jesus reached out to Mary and healed her. She was seen by many as unclean and untouchable yet he did not hesitate to see what really resided in her heart and to bless her with the task of being the first person to see him after his death. In her pain and grief, he immediately consoles her by appearing as she weeps alone in his tomb. Where are the others this Easter morning? She encounters two angels who without a word point her to Christ. As she turns and sees him, she does not recognize him until he calls her by name. What joy must have coursed through her! What amazement and wonder she must have felt to be the first to proclaim: I have seen the Lord! and to share their encounter with the others. Jesus could have chosen anyone to appear to first. He chose to reveal the Truth of what had happened first to this forgiven woman who he called friend. What a blessing for all of us women who love Jesus too.
Jesus often chooses the least likely to help proclaim the Good News. How is Jesus asking you to be his messenger?
What kind of friend is Jesus for you? How does being in relationship with Christ transform you?
Jesus, Friend of Women,
I am so grateful that you love me.
Our relationship brings out the best in me
as you call forth my gifts and heal my brokenness.
Your forgiveness and mercy inspire me to be
a vessel of your generosity and love.
Make me a disciple who delights
in bringing the Good News to all I meet.