Sr. Arleen Ketchum offers this prayer/reflection on Mary of Magdala, prominent witness to the Resurrection, known as the “Apostle to the Apostles.”
MARY OF MAGDALA: APOSTLE OF THE RESURRECTION
Jesus, Mary of Magdala is one of our most treasured foremothers in the faith— a true woman of strength and courage, a woman who dared to believe your call to be the Apostle to the Apostles, proclaiming to them news of Your Resurrection.
Likewise, You send us out to proclaim through our prayer and ministry that you are risen and live among us. Continue to show us how to witness to what we know to be true, and to live what we believe.Amen
READING (John 20: 11-18): Meanwhile, Mary stood weeping beside the tomb. Even as she wept, she stooped to peer inside, and there she saw two angels in dazzling robes. One was seated at the head and the other at the foot of the place where Jesus’ body had lain.
They asked her, “Why are you weeping?”
She answered them, “Because they have taken away my Rabbi and I don’t know where they have put the body.”
No sooner had she said this than she turned around and caught sight of Jesus standing there, but she didn’t know it was Jesus. He asked her, “Why are you weeping? For whom are you looking?
She supposed it was the gardener; so, she said, “Please, if you’re the one who carried Jesus away, tell me where you’ve laid the body and I will take it.”
Jesus said to her, “Mary!”
She turned to him and said, “Rabboni!” —which means “Teacher.”
Jesus then said, “Don’t hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to My Abba God. Rather, go to the sisters and brothers and tell them, ‘I’m ascending to my God and your God.’”
Mary of Magdala went to the disciples. “I have seen the Teacher,” she announced. Then she reported what Jesus had said to her.
JESUS IS ALIVE AND WITH US STILL.
May Jesus, who calls us by name, and sends us to proclaim the good news of his resurrection, complete the good work he began in us,
Help us stand firm in Jesus’ truth and healing love, especially when we experience persecution for justice’ sake.
Jesus, you called Mary of Magdala, Joanna and the other women to be the first witnesses to the resurrection,
Continue to help us recognize and accept our call to witness to your power to bring life from death.
When you called Mary of Magdala by name, she recognized you;
Give us eyes to recognize you and ears to hear you calling our true name deep within.
You sent Mary to proclaim the good news of your resurrection to the other disciples and apostles, even though they would not believe her;
Help us to respond with courage and fidelity to your apostolic call to “go and tell our sisters and brothers” of your power to heal, and to transform- even those wounded structures which disbelieve and seek to exclude us.
Women were your faithful disciples, apostles and leaders in the early Christian communities;
Help us reclaim our baptismal call to leadership and to full participation with our brothers in all aspects of Jesus’ mission and ministry. AMEN!
- How does the story of Mary of Magdala resonate with your own story- her relationship and call from Jesus/your relationship and call from Jesus? Disbelief on the part of others?
- What risk(s) did Mary of Magdala take?
- In her grief Mary does not recognize Jesus at first. What keeps you from recognizing Jesus in your midst?
- The story of the Resurrection is about transforming into new life and leaving the empty tombs behind. What “empty tomb” in your life needs to be left behind so that you might move into new life?
- What other messages are you receiving from the scripture passage on Mary
of Madgala being commissioned by Jesus?
- What is the story of YOUR call? To whom are you sent to preach the Good News?
Light and give a candle to each one present with these or similar words: “ ____________, Jesus has called you to be light for our world today. We send you forth in the name of Jesus and of this community to preach and to minister in his name.”
Most gracious God, like Mary of Magdala, you have called us to be your witnesses of love, justice, and loving presence in our world. Give us the integrity of Mary to stay true to our call to be proclaimers of your good news. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
–Sister Arlie, educator, retreat leader, and former Director of the Elizabeth Seton Women’s Center, now serves as a teacher’s assistant and office manager at a preschool in Yonkers.