Today the Catholic Church celebrates the memorial of Mary Magdalene. Although it is hard to sort through the various stories one hears about Mary, one thing seems absolutely certain – this was a woman who loved Jesus.
Father Raymond-Leopold Bruckberger, O.P., suggests that Mary loved Christ “with all the force of her being.” We can see evidence of that love in today’s Gospel passage. We see it in the grief Mary displays outside of the tomb when she discovered Jesus’ body is gone. We see it in her tears and frantic search for any information she can find that will help her find the body. And we see it in her joy when she realizes that the person she has taken for a gardener is, in fact, the risen Jesus.
It is no accident that one of the optional texts for the first Mass reading on this day of Mary Magdalene’s memorial is from the Song of Songs:
On my bed at night I sought him whom my heart loves – I sought him but I did not find him. I will rise then and go about the city; in the streets and crossings I will seek Him whom my heart loves. I sought him but I did not find him. The watchmen came upon me, as they made their rounds of the city: Have you seen him whom my heart loves? I had hardly left them when I found him whom my heart loves.
A beautiful expression of Mary Magdalene’s longing to find Christ. A beautiful expression of the longing in all of our hearts for union with our God.