Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the feast of one of the great disciples and followers of Our Lord Jesus Christ, one who is often considered to be an equal to the Twelve Apostles of the Lord, and one who has followed Him through much of His ministry ever since He called her from her past life, and she was also prominently mentioned in quite a few parts throughout the Gospels.
Today’s feast of St. Mary Magdalene, holy woman and devout disciple of the Lord Jesus reminds us of the great transformation that has happened to the life of this woman, who according to some Apostolic traditions and Scripture, was a sinner who lived a life of sin and debauchery, and the Lord Himself cast out many demons out of her. St. Mary Magdalene was known thereafter as a very dedicated follower of the Lord.
In all of these, we can see how God transformed the life of this woman, from someone who was sinful and corrupted into someone who is truly exemplary in faith and worthy of being an inspiration to many other Christians throughout the ages. In St. Mary Magdalene we see someone who has welcomed the Lord into her heart and into her life, allowing Him to work wonders in her and through her.
On this day, all of us are called to reflect on our own lives, and see how each and every one of us have lived them thus far. Many of us may not realise that the story of St. Mary Magdalene is actually not different from our own stories, her life being similar to our own lives in one way or another. We must not have the misconception of thinking of her as a wretched being whom God miraculously rescued and made clean, or that what she has done is impossible for us to emulate.
Many of us tended to take two extreme positions, both of which led us to the failure in appreciating the significance of St. Mary Magdalene, her examples and her faith. On one side, we look down on her as a sinful woman, whom God saved through mercy and pity, and therefore failing to realise that those same sins she had committed, are the very same sins that have corrupted us and which we ourselves have committed in one way or another.
On the other extreme, we may think that our sins are so severe and terrible that we cannot be forgiven by God, or that God is angry with us and our sins, and will exact punishment and destruction upon us because of those sins. This is called despair, brothers and sisters in Christ, and we must never despair before God. For God’s love for each and every one of us is so great and powerful that not even the greatest of sins can hold against His love, as long as we are fully repentant of our sins.
We must remember and indeed realise that many of the saints whom we venerate and glorify today were themselves sinners, and some among them were in fact infamous for their terrible sins. Some were murderers, while others were adulterers and unfaithful, worshipping pagan idols and gods, or performed wicked and selfish actions in their lives. But what were common among all of them is the fact that all of them repented and turned away from their sins.
They followed in the example of St. Mary Magdalene, who left behind her past life to follow God with all of her heart, which can be summed up in a way through what we have heard in our first reading passage today from the Book of Song of Songs. In that Book, the writer described a great longing and desire for God, which surpassed everything else, born from a genuine and true love for God.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, as I have just mentioned earlier, each and every one of us must realise and appreciate just how great God’s love is for us. He looks for us and desires for us to be reconciled with Him, and went out all the way to find us, like a Good Shepherd looking for all of us, His lost sheep, scattered in the darkened world due to our sins. And we must also remember how He endured the most bitter and painful of sufferings and pains, on the Cross, for the sake of our salvation.
Therefore, if God has loved us so much, should we not love Him in the same way then? St. Mary Magdalene had shown us her own good example, in her faith and commitment, in her genuine love for the Lord, leaving behind all traces of sin and disobedience behind her. Are we willing and able to make the commitment to do the same before God? Are we able to persist through the many temptations to sin in life?
Let us all pray that God may be moved and through the intercession of St. Mary Magdalene, that each and every one of us will realise how generous God’s love and compassionate mercy is, that we do not give in to despair, but remain hopeful in His love and merciful forgiveness. May the Lord also continue to guide us as we journey in our lives towards His grace and salvation. Amen.