Day 9


Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news:
  “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he 
had said these things to her. 

John 20:18

Reflection & novena prayers written by Jennifer Ristine and illustrated by Danielle Storey.

Mary Magdalene jumps at Jesus’s commission to “go to his brethren.”  Such a prompt response to Jesus’s call to mission comes from a deep impulse, echoing St. Paul’s profession, “The love of Christ impels me” (2 Cor 5:14).  Before St. Paul spoke those words, they were embodied in Mary Magdalene’s missionary enthusiasm.  She went to the disciples and proclaimed, “I have seen the Lord!”  “But these words seemed to them an idle tale” (Luke 24:11).  The simple task of sharing the good news was ill-received by many.  Perhaps the apostle to the apostles found solace in the few who did believe.  John and Jesus’s mother may have been a comfort to her, encouraging her to continue sharing the good news.

With the coming of Jesus Christ, the Kingdom of God was sown among the first believers.  After Jesus’ resurrection, the early Church remained a small nucleus, pondering the mysteries that had just occurred.  They waited with anticipation for the coming of the promised Spirit.  Mary was not to miss out on this great gift as the outpouring of the Spirit buoyed up the small remnant and increased the number of Jesus’s followers.

They would soon discover that the Kingdom of God had boundaries that expanded through the acceptance of Jesus into their lives and the communion that bound them together under Peter, to whom Jesus entrusted the keys.  The disciples were commissioned to go forth and make disciples of all nations (Mt 28:19). Mary Magdalene continued in the spirit of accompanying Jesus and the disciples, playing her part in the building of the Kingdom.

Traditional stories of Mary Magdalene’s adventures after Jesus’s resurrection cast light on her missionary zeal.  Disbelief in the good news would not silence her.  She traveled to Rome to speak to Caesar himself.  She preached the good news to the Roman court.  Providence took her to southern France during the early Christian persecution.  At the sight of pagan worshippers, she boldly taught about the one God and Jesus Christ, the Son of God who became man to save all.  These traditions contain marks of the Mary Magdalene we encounter in Sacred Scriptures, where she shows courage in her witness to the leaders of the pack.  Some laughed and scoffed at her. Others heeded the message and converted, multiplying the disciples wherever she went.

What began as an impulse of love would eventually be tested and forged into virtue, as well as gifted with the spirit of courage.  Mary Magdalene was continually formed by divine grace and life circumstances.  Isn’t this our own experience?  For all the plans and strategies we make, for our attempts to be sagacious in the new evangelization, the Holy Spirit will build the Kingdom through both rejection and acceptance of our efforts to share the good news.  Our mission is to be docile to the Spirit and let the winds of courage take us to the corners of our social milieu that are in need of the redemptive message and the extension of God’s Kingdom.

Lord Jesus, make us your courageous missionary disciples so that the good news will arrive to the hearts of all those in need of your saving grace. Make us docile to your promptings and sagacious in the work of evangelizing. Guide us in our efforts to multiply faith-filled disciples and grant strength to all those who are fully dedicated to serving you, that you may reign in the hearts of all and your Kingdom will be extended to the farthest corners of the world.  Amen.

St. Mary Magdalene, pray for us.

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