Homily for the Feast of St. Mary Magdalene
Something I always think about whenever this Gospel passage is read at Mass or when I have prayed with it is just how personal Jesus is to Mary Magdalene. Jesus, disguised as the gardener, sees how His death has affected one of His closest disciples.
Mary is sitting outside of the tomb weeping, fearful that someone had come in the night and taken the body of the Lord. And as she shows concern for Jesus, Jesus returns that same concern for her. He sees her in her moment of sorrow and grief. He sees her discouragement. And His heart is moved. So, Jesus does something that seems so simple, yet, to Mary, it was the most profound thing the Lord could ever do to her. He simply speaks her name. In doing that, He reveals Himself to her. Mary Magdalene didn’t recognize that Jesus was standing in front of her until she heard His voice, until Jesus called her by her name.
The Lord is the same way with us. He is personal with us. He sees us in our greatest moments of need, our greatest moments of sorrow, our greatest moment of despair. He sees us whenever we are struggling and discouraged. He sees us when we need guidance. He knows our every desire. And, in order to be with us in those moments, He calls us by our names.
Just like Mary Magdalene, if we are looking for Jesus, if we are seeking him with our whole heart, if our souls are longing for Him, He will come to us – and He will come to us shortly in the Eucharist. Today, as we approach the altar to receive His Body and Blood, listen to how He speaks our names. The Master and Creator of the entire universe knows our names. The Lord knows our names! And He speaks them to us. He calls out to us so that we can recognize Him. Will we come to recognize Jesus this morning?