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Homily for July 22, 2021 – The Feast of St. Mary Magdalene

The Feast of St. Mary Magdalene

Fr. John Denburger, OCSO

Song 3: 1 – 4b; Ps. 63; John 20: 1 – 2, 11 – 18

There is a word, a sense that flows through the Liturgy for this feast of St. Mary Magdalene – it is “longing”. Not just the longing of this repentant woman but also the longing of the Lord Jesus Christ.

In the message that she is to carry to His brothers: “I am going to My Father and your Father, to My God and your God” – we hear Jesus, the Son, longing for His Father – it is interesting that He does not tell her to tell them that He is risen – rather that a going forth is imminent. It appears very important that these men know this.

Mary Magdalene had her own message for the disciples – proclaimed loudly and with much emotion: “I have seen the Lord!” Standing by the cross she saw HIs wretched death then witnessed His burial in the tomb and returning in the early morning she waited in the dark at the tomb – in terrible grief, in longing – it was truly a very hopeless time. Who would have thought that it would come to this! Freeing her from seven devils He lifted her up from an abyss of sinfulness, of despair. Experiencing the wonder of the Lord’s merciful love she knew His longing for her salvation, her peace. Her life was never the same!

In all this Mary Magdalene becomes a word to us of the longing of God – infinite, passionate, totally-embracing. It is His divine nature to long and it is His will, His delight that we know and experience this awesome grace – that lifts, heals, forgives.

We live in God’s world and there is in the atmosphere God’s longing for each of us, for our good, for our eternal salvation – it is in the very air we breathe. Jesus revealed this in His life, words, miracles – without necessarily saying it – this longing is at the heart of His message even unto His death.

The Holy Eucharist is the living sign of this truth – we see, we adore, we taste.
The Crucifix which graces our rooms is also a sign of the tremendous reality.
We pray that the Lord open our eyes more and more and our hearts deeper and deeper to these signs because it is what belief is about. To say “I believe in God” is this not that same as to say “I long for You, Lord”?

By God’s grace we are the people who long to see His face!