MARY MAGDALENE PART ONE
22nd JULY - THE FEAST OF SAINT MARY MAGDALENE, Apostle to the Apostles.
"Mary turned around and saw Jesus standing there, though she did not recognise him. Jesus said, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? Who are you looking for?’ Supposing him to be the gardener, she said, ‘Sir, if you have taken him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will go and remove him.’ Jesus said, ‘Mary!’ She knew him then and said to him in Hebrew, ‘Rabbuni!’ – which means Master......." John 20
"WHY TO ME?" - Luigi Santucci, "Wrestling with Christ"
It’s almost as if it was a dream – but the rest of my life before then – that was a nightmare, spent in the arms of different men who seemed like corpses. But when I anointed his feet I woke up, and I’ve been awake ever since. And ever since that night they nailed him to the cross, and we prepared those ointments for him, I’ve never slept.
Those ointments had more tears in them than myrrh and aloes.
And that dawn – what anguish! The stone, we were worrying about who would move it, and it had already been rolled away. All our work that night was for nothing. It made me feel so empty – I could hardly breathe, but I screamed at Peter and John - “they’ve taken the Lord away from the tomb”.
I thought it was the gardener. “If it’s you who have taken him away, tell me where you’ve put him!” How could I not recognise him? - Although my eyes were swollen with crying and tiredness.
Then he said it. “Mary” – and it seemed, just for that moment, that he had come back for me. Why did he choose me, the whore from Magdala? Why not his mother, or John?
He could see I was going to throw my arms around him. “Don’t cling to me”. How I needed to feel the warmth….but his voice said it all….and at least I was given the first-fruits of the joy of seeing him! What more could I ask?
" The Love I love, came in the early dawning, standing as still as light. How could I ever have dreamed so sweet a morning after so dark a night?" Elizabeth Rooney
IT WAS A BOLT FROM THE BLUE - Nick Fawcett
It was a bolt from the blue . . .
literally . . .shattering the peace of the garden and breaking in rudely on our grief.We’d walked there in silence,
each wrapped up in our thoughts,
remembering all the special things Jesus had said and done, precious moments neither of us would ever forget but that had been so cruelly snatched from us as they nailed him on a cross. Both of us were fighting back the tears, struggling to be strong for the sake of the other, but as we approached the tomb we could feel ourselves crumbling, great sobs welling up within, and we’d have caved in completely had it not been for that astonishing turn of events. Suddenly, without any warning, any clue as to what was about to happen, the ground seemed to shake and lightning fill the sky,
as though heaven itself was breaking in upon us,
and so, of course, it was to prove,
in a way more wonderful than we could have dared imagine.
In that awesome, earth-shattering moment, God was at work,
transforming the world for ever;
not only us but everyone,
not only life but death.
For Jesus had risen, victorious over evil,triumphant over the grave.
The tomb was empty, and he was alive once more, waiting to meet and greet us, to speak his word again and walk with us on the way. And this time, whatever might be, there would be no separating us from his love, no tearing us apart – for we knew that, through his Spirit, he would be with us always, to the very end of time.
PRAYER TO THE GOD OF SURPRISES - Nick Fawcett
Almighty God, we remember with awe the first Easter morning, marvelling that, at a time when you seemed absent, you were supremely at work,
and at a place where death seemed triumphant, new life was coming to birth.Remind us, should we ever forget,that you are a God of surprises,
a God who turns the expectations
of this world upside down,
bringing hope out of despair,
laughter out of tears,
light out of darkness
and life out of death.
In that knowledge,
may we never despair
of any situation,
no matter how bleak
or hopeless things may seem.
Help us always to keep faith
in your transforming power –
able to make us
and all things new.