“What a blessing for you to be in Holy Land during Lent!” Many people told me after I gave them a tour. I only nodded as I didn’t know what to reply. I didn’t feel it was Lent and I didn’t manage to give up anything for the Lord as I would normally have done back home. This could have seemed as the perfect time for giving up my “possessions” but I didn’t have the strength…I just followed my every day routine and didn’t really try to hear Him…until one Sunday that changed everything for me!
A priest from Ohio, called Rob, came to visit Magdala and so wished to celebrate a mass in the Mary Magdalene chapel but didn’t have any people to celebrate with. I talked to him about our amazing site and in the end joined him for his mass. This is when He started talking to me… (or when I finally surrendered and gave Him my time to listen) He said: Remember not the events of the past, the things of long ago consider not. See, I’m doing something new! Now it springs forth, do you now perceive it? (Is 43, 18-19). He simply assured me that He is working on me I just need to be patient (I was never good at it though).
I served Father Rob during the mass and it was for the first time that God enabled me to see from very close, how the bread and wine is transformed into body and blood. It was so personal, it felt like this sacrifice was done only for me! From this time my Lent slowly started…
Magdala organized an amazing programme for volunteers during Easter. We began with the Palm Sunday procession. Starting in Betphage, at the same place as Jesus, we walked with thousands of Christians from the Holy Land, down the Mount of Olives with songs and praises to the ‘blessed one who comes in the name of the Lord’. We were full of joy because the King was entering Jerusalem.
Then Holy Monday came and I decided to fast (live on one pita bread a day and water only) for the next 5 days. I wanted to feel pain and so at least in this way understand, a little bit His suffering (I know this is nothing in comparison to what He did for me). It was truly hard when I went to Holy Sepulcher for the whole night (12 hours) on Holy Thursday. I was cold, hungry and sleepy. Like the disciples I also didn’t manage to stay awake and pray the whole night. But, I did devote this time (nearly the whole night) to reading the Passion and Exodus to better understand what He went through.
Although my preparation was short it helped me to recognize that He is the Lamb sacrificed for me that I proclaimed during the Good Friday service and the Passover dinner, which I attended. The blood of a lamb had to be shed in Egypt so the Israelites could be saved from the angel of death and therefore, for us too, the blood of perfect sacrifice had to be shed, the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. The sacrifice of the New Covenant – the sacrifice of LOVE.
And now I proclaim to everyone with joy – He is risen! I am a Mary Magdalene of today, a woman with many sins, who is entrusted with spreading these amazing news of resurrection! And so are you!