Today, July 22nd, the Church celebrates the feast of St. Mary Magdalene which was elevated to a feast day just a few years ago. She is an amazing and strong woman, a faithful disciple, and an extraordinary biblical figure. Except for the mother of Jesus, few women are more honored in the Bible than Mary Magdalene. Her faithful discipleship is evident in Scripture when she was one of the many “who were assisting them [Jesus and the Twelve] out of their means.” Her devotion is seen in the Passion of Our Lord when she was one of those who stood by the cross of Jesus with his mother. But the most profound action of Mary Magdalene was her profession of the Resurrection to the Apostles. She was first to see and announce that Jesus had risen from the dead. Chosen by the Lord to go to proclaim His triumph over sin and death to the Apostles, Mary Magdalen today is known as the "Apostle to the Apostles.”
To me, the Feast of St. Mary Magdalene brings awareness of two important truths: (1) each Christian is to follow the example of Mary Magdalene of announcing the Resurrection of Christ and (2) the importance of women in the Church and the spread of the faith. The first truth is a realization that each of us has been chosen by the Lord to continue to trumpet the Resurrection as Mary Magdalen did. There are many people still locked in the room as the Apostles were out of fear, sadness, or sinfulness. They are waiting to be told that the Lord has risen, waiting to hear the Good News of the Gospel that drives out fear, turns sadness to joy, and forgives our sins. Mary Magdalene boldly went as the Lord instructed her. Her message led the Apostles to believe in the Resurrection.
A second truth is the importance of women in the Church and their special role to spread the faith. It was not an accident that the Lord chose a woman to be the first to attest to his Resurrection, just like it was not an accident that the Lord chose men at the Last Supper to become priests. The womanhood of Mary Magdalene and her roles throughout the ministry of Jesus, especially his Passion, Death, and Resurrection, teaches that for the Church to be most effective, women must continue to proclaim their strong faith in the Lord through their jobs, various and important Church ministries, and in particular the ministry of the family (be it the domestic church as a wife/mother, or the universal church in the consecrated life or active lay person). I am so thankful to God for the Mary Magdalenes in my life, especially my mother who passed on our shared faith to me and my brothers, and whose example of faithfulness to God, the Church, and my dad helped teach and guide me to become a priest. Today, I offer a special thanks to all the wonderful women of the parish who help in so many ways to give witness to the Joy of the Resurrection. Ladies, your stewardship of time, talent, and treasure is a great example to me and the entire parish. I am thankful to God that this parish has so many women following the example of St. Mary Magdalene--you are a vital component to the effectiveness of Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church and the spread of the Gospel.
May God continue to bless all of you through the intercession of Mary Magdalene and Mary, the Mother of God.