Homily for the Feast of St. Mary Magdalene

In the long tradition of the Church, including its artistic tradition, Mary Magdalene has generally been portrayed as a repentant sinner. This is largely due to her being mistakenly identified with the sinful woman who washed the feet of Jesus with her tears and dried them with her hair. In reality, there is no evidence to suggest in the Gospels that Mary was any more a sinner than the other disciples of Jesus. Our Gospel passage today identifies her as the woman whose devotion to Jesus brought her to the tomb early on that first Sunday morning. Her sincere devotion to Jesus also left her outside the tomb weeping tears of loss when she discovered the body of Jesus was not there.

Mary Magdalene sought the LORD but could not find Him. However, the Lord came seeking her and found her when He called her by her name. Like her, we too seek the Lord, and, like her, we are also being sought and found by Jesus. Indeed, our LORD'S search for us comes before our search for Him. Even if we struggle to make our way to the LORD, like Mary, the LORD always makes His way to us and calls us by our name. He is the Good Shepherd who, having laid down His life for us, now calls us by name.

In calling us to Himself by name, the LORD also sends us out, as he sent out Mary Magdalene, to bring the Good News of His Risen presence to those we meet. The LORD who calls us by name also asks us to be His messengers to others.+

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