A beautiful love story lies at the heart of today’s Easter gospel. In a subtle way, Mary Magdalene is portrayed as the woman lover in the Old Testament’s Song of Songs.
This lover searches for her beloved in the night, just as Mary Magdalene went to the tomb before the sun had risen. The lover asks the city watchmen if they had seen her beloved, just as Mary Magdalene laments to the angels keeping watch that she doesn’t know where Jesus is to be found. As it was in a secret garden that the lover would meet her beloved, so Mary Magdalene first mistook Jesus for a gardener. And finally, when the lover discovered her beloved she took hold of him and refused to let go, just as Mary Magdalene clung to Jesus, after he revealed himself to her.
Mary Magdalene’s deep love for Jesus gave her the courage to overcome the doubts and fears that paralyzed the disciples after the crucifixion. As a reward, Jesus appeared to her first and sent her to tell the others the good news of the resurrection. Because of this, she is honored as the "Apostle to the Apostles."
Mary Magdalene’s courageous love is an inspiration for us, because we too need courage to follow Jesus. For instance, we need courage
- To trust God, when we can’t see the road ahead of us;
- To love others who might reject us;
- To forgive, when we’re afraid of appearing weak; and
- To grow in holiness, when we fear the change that growth requires.
To confess our sins when our shame would hold us back;
To witness to our faith in the face of injustice and ridicule;