Daily Reflection
July 22nd, 1999
Larry Gillick, S.J.
The Deglman Center for Ignatian Spirituality
The Feast of Mary Magdalene
Song of Songs 3:1-4
John 20:1-2, 11-18

We hear in today's scripture from the liturgy, of the seeking by a  woman in love.  "I sought him whom my heart loves.  I sought him, but did not find him."

This first reading is a wonderful introduction to the Gospel's picturing of Mary Magdalene lovingly searching for Jesus on Easter morning.  She sought Him, but notice, He found her.  She thought He was the gardener; He knew her by name.  She embraced Him; He sent her on the first mission of the new church. She had sought Him among the dead; He was sending her back to the new living.

Mary Magdalene has lived through the centuries as the "Woman of the city" in the seventh chapter of Luke's Gospel, though her name is not mentioned there.  The Church celebrates her today as a woman whose love for Jesus kept her faithful to her search.  Love desires union; it is a hunger which can never be totally experienced.  I doubt that any experience of human love has ever totally satisfied the lovers for ever.  There is always the "more" which the human heart seeks.

Human love is a sacrament which while being shared and delighted in, leads the lovers to the beyond to the "more" of love.  This longing, this hungering, is not dissatisfaction nor disappointment, but prayer.  What we as human beings want is what Mary Magdalene received; she was the "sought-for" and the "found-one".  She also, by being found, was the "sent-one".  She could let go of the feet of Jesus, because she knew Jesus would not let go of her.

What we celebrate today in the Eucharist, is our being found, embraced, held-on-to, and yet sent to tell our sisters and brothers of how it is to be loved by God.  We are then sent as a loving embrace to others, sacramentally revealing in our own little ways, what it means to be loved by God. With Mary Magdalene, we continue our search to be found, embraced and shared with His sisters and brothers.

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