First Witness of the Resurrection (First Century)
+ Mary of Magdala features prominently in each of the gospels and she is most especially celebrated for her fidelity to Jesus during his Passion.
+ The Gospel of John highlights her importance when it describes her as going to Jesus’ tomb alone and discovering that the body of the Lord is missing. In tears, she says to the angels at the tomb, “They have taken my Lord away sand I do not know where have put him” (20:1-18). Moments later, Jesus appeared to her, making her the first witness of the Resurrection.
+ Various legends grew up around Mary Magdalene, including the unfounded assumption that she was a reformed prostitute. Today she is honored as a patron saint of contemplative nuns.
+ In 2016 Pope Francis elevated the liturgical celebration of Saint Mary Magdalene to the rank of “Feast,” making her liturgical celebration equal to that of the other Apostles.
For prayer and reflection
“The Gospels describe Mary’s happiness. Jesus’ Resurrection is not a joy which is measured with a dropper, but a waterfall that cascades over life. Christian life is not woven of soft joys, but of waves which engulf everything. You too, try to imagine, right now, with the baggage of disappointments and failures that each of us carries in our heart, that there is a God close to us who calls us by name and says to us: ‘Rise, stop weeping, for I have come to free you!’. This is beautiful.”–Pope Francis
On July 22 the Church also remembers Blessed Manuela de Jesús Arias Espinosa. Although she had first lived as a cloistered nun in Los Angeles, California, she later established a new community—the Congregation of the Poor Clare Missionary Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament—in Cuernavaca, Mexico, in 1945. By the time of her death in on July 22, 1981, her community had 36 houses in 14 countries. Blessed Manuela was beatified in 2012.
O God, whose Only Begotten Son
entrusted Mary Magdalene before all others
with announcing the great joy of the Resurrection,
grant, we pray,
that through her intercession and example
we may proclaim the living Christ
and come to see him reigning in your glory.
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.