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On Thursday, July 22, the Church celebrates the Feast of Saint Mary Magdalene. I have come to admire and appreciate Mary Magdalene as the first witness to the Resurrection (see John 20:1–18) and the “apostle to the apostles” (per Saint Thomas Aquinas). She manages to shine through despite being mistakenly identified for centuries as the unnamed “sinful woman” who anoints Jesus’ feet (see Luke 7:36–50). Mary Magdalene is identified by name as the woman “from whom seven demons had gone out” (see Luke 8:2).
My early impression of Mary Magdalene is tied to viewing the rock opera “Jesus Christ Superstar” when it appeared in theaters in 1973. I was in elementary school at the time. One of my favorite songs from that soundtrack remains “I Don’t Know How to Love Him” by Yvonne Elliman. While the lyrics allude to a sinful past (likely tied to Mary’s mistaken identity), they clearly proclaim her love for him, the change he has brought to her life, and her fear of being completely loved and accepted by him.
May each of us, like Mary Magdalene, love Jesus with our whole selves, be changed by his presence in our lives, and be awed by the mighty wonders of our God. Amen.
Image credit: Simon Webster (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) via Flickr.com, cropped