Mothers’ Union Devotions 22nd July – The Feast of Mary Magdalene
Today is the feast of Mary Magdalene – The Apostle to the Apostles. The first to proclaim the Good News. The woman chosen to show all women that they can be apostles, that they can proclaim the Word. As such she is also one of the most demonised woman throughout history – rebranded as a temptress, a prostitute, a woman of ill repute. Painted with uncovered hair, ankles exposed, draped at Jesus’ feet, showing no sense of shame. Going back to Scripture, however, all we know for certain is that she was healed from the seven demons which tormented her.
During lockdown I am sure we can all empathise with the reality of being tormented by demons. We have been plagued with enough worry, fear, loneliness, boredom, frustration, lethargy, and isolation to feel like we too have been attacked by seven external forces trying to drag us down. Like Mary, healing for our lockdown demons is also being offered to us by Jesus. Our faith in him and the power of his resurrection can keep us going. Knowing that even death cannot hold him gives us the strength to face our demons. And we would not know this without the faith and love of Mary for her Master.
Mary stayed at the empty tomb after the men left. She stayed and through her fear and her tears she was rewarded for her patience when she encountered the risen Lord. After her encounter, her renewed, refreshed soul went and shared all that she had seen, all that she had heard with the other disciples. We too have been waiting patiently, waiting until we can leave the house, waiting until we can return to our churches, waiting until we can meet as Mothers’ Union members again. Indeed, waiting until we can share the joyful news of Jesus’ resurrection through our acts of caring for families locally or throughout the world.
Like Mary our patience has been or will be rewarded. Many of us can now leave our houses, some of us are able to return to church services and the rest will follow once shielding comes to an end. Things will be different, the Jesus that Mary encountered was not the same man she had been traveling with. Mary was able to see past this change to continue her life as a follower of Jesus in whichever way she was now led. Unfortunately, we do not know much about Mary’s life after the first Easter morning, but I feel certain that she adapted to the new reality she found herself in. Adapting to a new reality is something we are all facing, and Mary can be a role model for us. An outstanding woman who overcame her demons, overcame her grief, overcame her confusion to become the apostle to the apostles.
Loving Lord whose risen Son called Mary Magdalene by name and sent her to tell of his resurrection to his apostles: in your mercy renew us, refresh us and help us to proclaim the good news that he is alive and reigns, now and forever. Amen
With love and prayers