Memorial of Saint Mary Magdalene
Daily Scripture Analysis

Daily Gospel

Memorial of Saint Mary Magdalene

Mary Magdalene

Readings: Sg 3:1-4b hay II Cor 5:14-17; Jn 10:1-2, 11-18

Memorial of Saint Mary Magdalene

Readings:Sg 3:1-4b hay II Cor 5:14-17; Jn 10:1-2, 11-18

1/ Reading 1: Sg 3:1-4b
RSV Song of Solomon 3:1 Upon my bed by night I sought him whom my soul loves; I sought him, but found him not; I called him, but he gave no answer.

2 "I will rise now and go about the city, in the streets and in the squares; I will seek him whom my soul loves." I sought him but found him not.

3 The watchmen found me, as they went about in the city. "Have you seen him whom my soul loves?"

4 Scarcely had I passed them, when I found him whom my soul loves. I held him, and would not let him go until I had brought him into my mother's house, and into the chamber of her that conceived me.

2/ Reading II: 2 Corinthians 5:14-17  14 For the love of Christ controls us, because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died. 15 And he died for all, that those who live might live no longer for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. 16 From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once regarded Christ from a human point of view, we regard him thus no longer. 17 Therefore, if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come.

3/ Gospel: Jn 10:1-2, 11-18
          On the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early in the morning, while it was still dark, and saw the stone removed from the tomb. So, she ran and went to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them, "They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don't know where they put him."
Mary stayed outside the tomb weeping. And as she wept, she bent over into the tomb and saw two angels in white sitting there,
one at the head and one at the feet where the Body of Jesus had been.
And they said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?"
She said to them, "They have taken my Lord, and I don't know where they laid him."
When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus there, but did not know it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?" She thought it was the gardener and said to him,
"Sir, if you carried him away, tell me where you laid him, and I will take him."
Jesus said to her, "Mary!"
She turned and said to him in Hebrew, "Rabbouni," which means Teacher.
Jesus said to her, "Stop holding on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father.
But go to my brothers and tell them, 'I am going to my Father and your Father,
to my God and your God.'"
Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, "I have seen the Lord,"
and then reported what he told her.


I. THEME: Faith and love are necessary to recognize God and to do His will.

            People used to live and to express their love by sensitive feelings; but God wants them to express love by faith and doing His will. Today, the universal Church celebrates the memorial of St. Mary Magdala who Jesus destroyed seven demons from her. From that time on, she followed Him and became “the disciple of disciples” because she is the first, according to St. John’s Gospel, saw the Resurrected Christ and told it to the disciples. The Dominican Order considers her as the second patrol saint after St. Dominic because her characters have something like the Order’s characters.

          She loves Christ because He gives her a new life, she is no longer a slave for the demons. To return this favor, she courageously loves Him until the end. When Jesus is dying on the cross, she is reported by the Gospels as one of the women who stood under the cross. After they buried Him in the tomb, she is the first one to visit the tomb. In today passage according to St. John, she wanted to see Jesus’ body, to embalm it with perfume and myrrh and to held him tightly once she reconized Him.

          Jesus didn’t want her to do these things, but to go on and to announce the Good New of His resurrection to His disciples. Why did Jesus would like her to stop her expression of love humanly? Since the human love is selfish, it demands to keep the love for herself like: to be seen, to be loved and cared for… while charity demands her to share her joy for others, to be on the way to sing for all people to know about God’s love for humankind.

          In today first reading, the Song of the Songs expresses the love of a girl which is similar with Mary Magdala’s love for Jesus in today’s Gospel. She is eagerly on her way to look for her lover but can’t find him although she searched everywhere and asked from sentinels; but after overcoming all human limitations, she found her lover. We also can use the reading from Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians. St. Paul had his experience and advised his faithfuls to overcome human ways to know Christ and others: not according to human ways; but according to faith because old things passed and new things appear.

                     

II. ANALYSIS

1/ First reading: "I have met my lover."

1.1/ The worldly love demands the real presence:

          The Song of Songs is considered as the best love song of a couple. Many asked the question that why this love song, romantic and sentimental as such, is considered as one of the Church’s canonical book? The reason is because the Book expresses God’s love for human beings and Christ’s love for the Church. Although this love has an aspect and expresses human feeling, but it also expresses the spiritual aspect which surpasses human feeling as today reading expresses.

          When she is in love, she wants to be with her lover all the time. The Song of Songs expresses this aspect through the fact that the girl is so eagerly to find her lover, as Mary Magdala was sleepless all night, she wanted for the sun to rise early so she can go out to the tomb to see Jesus’ body. In the Song, the girl got out of her house to look for her lover everywhere, even asked the sentinels if they met her lover. This can be a nonsense question; but to the one in love, she is willing to use all ways which can help her to find her lover!      

1.2/ The true love demands people to overcome the real presence

          The reading ends suddenly, “Scarcely had I passed them, when I found him whom my soul loves. I held him and would not let him go.” Many people question what is the reason for this sudden encounter?

          We can only stipulate it based on God’s word in the Scripture, “who finds God, shall meet Him.” God knows who loves Him sincerely because He knows all things, not only by outside expressions but also by inside feelings. He knows the girl’s love, expressed by the fact that she went out to look for Him “in the streets and in the squares,” not counting all dangers and obstacles which she can meet on the way for a weak female as her. The only thing on her mind is to meet Him.

          God is loved and has unlimited power; He shall not let her to endure a fruitless hope; but responded by the sudden encounter. The encounter can happen only in mind as St. Martin sees Christ in the poor and the suffered; or directly in His human body and called the name “Mary” intimatedly as He called Mary Magdala today. This certified that the real presence is not the only way and the most desired way which God wants people to have.

2/ Second reading: “From now on, we no longer want to know anyone according to fleshy way.”

2.1/ Knowing and loving according to the flesh: According to the wordly way, when one loves someone, he wants to possess that person in all aspects: in thinkings and in acts. They must live in the same house and will not share their love for anyone. He is anger when he sees his lover looking, caring or sharing her love to anyone besides him.

2.2/ Knowing and loving according to faith and Spirit: Saint Expury explains this love beautifully and properly, “Love is not about sitting and looking at each other, but to look in one direction.” This is the definition which today readings aim at. Loving God eagerly is not about keeping God for oneself, but to recognize and to do God’s will. If God wants us to go out to preach for people to know about His love for all people, so that all people will also love Him as we love Him; we must find all possible ways to achieve His will.

          St. Paul is the perfect example for us to follow. After he was found and loved by Christ on the way to Damascus, he changed his life completely according to God’s love and will. In today reading, he gave this advice to the Corinthians, “From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once regarded Christ from a human point of view, we regard him thus no longer. 17 Therefore, if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come.”

3/ Gospel: "I have seen the Lord," and then reported what he told her.

3.1/ Mary wanted to see her teacher’s body: Many strange facts happened around the empty tomb; but Mary Magdala didn’t recognize because she was living according to her human feelings:

            (1) The huge stone was rolled out from the entrance: She didn’t ask, “Who can take out this stone?” But she identified this fact with the fact, “Someone stole His body!”

            (2) When Mary returned the second time and saw the two men who were sitting on the bed which they laid Jesus, she didn’t question: Who are they? Why are they sitting there? She only knew to stand there and to weep!

          And they said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?" She said to them, "They have taken my Lord, and I don't know where they laid him." When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus there, but did not know it was Jesus.

          (3) Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?" She thought it was the gardener and said to him, "Sir, if you carried him away, tell me where you laid him, and I will take him."

          Two times Mary Magdala were questions, “Woman, why are you weeping”: one by the two angels, one by Jesus himself. The Resurrection is the summit of the Paschal joy and fortold by Christ many times; they din’t understand why she is weeping instead of being joyful.

3.2/ Jesus required Mary to overcome passions to announce the Good New of His resurrection:

            (1) Mary Magdala must overcome sentimental love to recognize Christ: She thought Jesus is a gardener so Mary said to him, “Sir, if you carried him away, tell me where you laid him, and I will take him.”

            (2) Christ helped Mary to overcome by calling her name: “Mary.” Turning her face to Him, said to Him in Hebrew, "Rabbouni," which means Teacher.

             (3) When she lowered herself and hold on to Jesus’ feet, Jesus told her, "Stop holding on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father.”

             (4) Jesus commanded her to announce the Resurrection New, “Go to my brothers and tell them, 'I am going to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'"

            (5) Mary Magdala went to the disciples and announced: "I have seen the Lord," and then reported what he told her.

III. APPLICATIONS IN LIFE:

            - Human body is only one part of our life. We need to let our soul to be close to God and to guide all other aspects of our life.

            - Living only according to the flesh makes people like animals and leads them to death; but living according to the soul shall guide them to reach the goal which God plans for people in Christ.

            - Loving God isn’t about sitting and looking at Him; but requiring us to do His will. We should go out and announce God’s love for all people in the world.

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