Today is the feast of Mary of Magdala, that wonderful woman whom, according to the gospel of Luke, Jesus drove out seven demons; the woman whom Jesus healed and then came to support and to work with Jesus in his ministry.This wonderful woman who is often referred to as the Apostle to the apostles, also witnesses to me—to us in a significant way.
In the midst of the horrific events surrounding Jesus’ torture and death, Mary of Magdala was understandably focused on her grief, on her loss—focused so intently that she almost missed it—almost missed the connection opportunity that Jesus was offering her. And yet, in a moment of recognition she “ got it”—she allowed Jesus to break through her grief, her confusion, her overwhelming sense of loss.
As Mary was present, both physically and emotionally, as she listened to Jesus call her name “Mary!" with both her physical ears and the “ears of her heart”, she was able to recognize that she was not alone, that Christ was here with her. Mary of Magdala was also experiencing a resurrection—in this moment of recognition she was being led by Christ from the death of despair to the resurrection of hope and new life.
As I pondered today’s gospel I recalled the countless times in my life that I have been offered moments of recognition—ahah moments, split second flashes of understanding, a quickening of peace in the midst of despair; that sudden sense of not being alone when all alone that have made all the difference.
As we celebrate this feast of Mary of Magdala we might want to take a few moments to consider when we have, like Mary, experienced moments of recognition. When might we have heard Jesus call our name in a way that stopped us in our tracks, moments when Jesus “appeared” to us—through others, nature, scripture, art, music, etc, as he desired to break through our circumstance to offer his resurrection hope and great love.