22 July 2016
Feast of St Mary Magdalene
On June 3rd, Pope Francis elevated the Memorial of Saint Mary Magdalene to the level of a Feast. And that’s the level at which we also celebrate the Apostles: Peter and Paul, Andrew, Matthew, Bartholomew, and the rest. We celebrate Mary Magdalene now with the same vigor as we celebrate the Apostles. And this is simply because she is what St. Thomas Aquinas called “the Apostle of the Apostles.”
She was the first one sent by Jesus to proclaim the Resurrection. She was the first one to experience the effects of Divine Mercy. And she was the first to make that step from a “private love” for Christ toward a more “public love” for Christ. It’s not a coincidence that Pope Francis elevated our celebration of Mary Magdalene to a Feast. After all, this is the Jubilee Year of Mercy; and the Church is working very hard on the New Evangelization—the renewed sharing of the gospel out in the world. Saint Mary Magdalene is, for us, a model disciple, a model evangelist, and a model “lover of Christ.”
Perhaps our biggest challenge as Catholics today is to be in love with Christ so much that we can’t help but want others to know that same love, and mercy and acceptance. Our challenge is twofold: to love the Lord—with affection, with adoration, with awe and wonder, with honesty, fidelity and courage—and to let our love for the Lord be something we share . . . freely and with conviction. It’s a twofold challenge we have as Catholic Christians.
But, the example of Mary Magdalene shows us the way. Love the Lord; and share your joy with others. That’s what evangelization is; it’s what Catholic living is; it’s how the kingdom of God grows. Love the Lord; and share your joy with others.