Today, we celebrate the feast day of Mary Magdalene. You might be saying, “Mary Magdalene? Wasn’t she possessed by demons? Wasn’t she a prostitute? Why would Christ appear to her anyway? Why does she get a feast day?” Or maybe you remember more modern stories and think of her as Christ's secret lover and wonder if they had a secret family.
Or maybe you remember her in the Easter story as the first one to see Christ after the resurrection. After Mary tells the disciples about the empty tomb, several of them race towards the tomb. They look, they assess, and then they go home. It is only Mary who stays behind to weep.
But because she stays behind to weep, to be still for a bit, she gets to be the first to see the risen Lord. The male disciples are first to see the evidence of resurrection, but Mary sees Christ. Soon others else will see him, but she is first.
The story of Mary Magdalene has much to say to us in the 21st century. We need to be reminded to stay alert for the Divine, and for each other. Busyness is the drug that many of us use to dull our senses. But in our busyness, we forget what's really important.
If we're too busy, we might miss Christ altogether. Both the Old and New Testament teach us that God will come to us in forms we least suspect. If we're not careful, we'll assume that we're not needed and go back to our houses. If we're not careful, we won't notice that the gardener is really Jesus.
It's good to be reminded of the resurrection story in the middle of July. Now the year is over half way done. We don't have the magic of spring to renew our spirits. We may be feeling scorched by the weather and by our dashed hopes for the year. It's good to remember the story that we can be part of; it's good to remember that we're promised grace and salvation.
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