Dearest Magdala Family,
We are in the final stretch of preparation for the Feast of Saint Mary Magdalene celebrated on the 22nd of this month.
A few years ago, Pope Francis elevated this liturgical memory to the rank of “feast.” With this, the Pope wanted to underline the importance of Mary Magdalene in the life of the church as “Apostle of the Apostles.” It was she indeed, as the 4 evangelists testify to us, who brought the announcement of the Resurrection to the apostles themselves.
She is a truly a great woman, and pillar of the nascent church.
I would like to comment with you an aspect of her unique figure: BEING A DISCIPLE. Disciple is a word that comes from the Latin verb “disco”, meaning to learn. A disciple is the one who learns, the one who recognizes the quality of teacher in another, and with humility, patience and perseverance begins to learn from him. Although, in our current world we sometimes lose sight of the concept of “teacher”, as someone who teaches something to someone, we must remember that behind everything we learn through the five senses there is always a teacher.
A Chinese proverb says: “everyone is your teacher: some teach you what you have to do, others what you don’t have to do”. It’s true. Everything we do and say, sooner or later becomes an example for others, good or bad. Be it at school, on the internet, in a magazine or in a newspaper, there is always someone behind what we receive from others. A person is transmitting something to someone. There is – we can say – a teacher.
For Mary Magdalene, according to the narrative of the resurrection of the Evangelist John (20:15), identifying the Risen Jesus Christ as her “Rabboní”, that is to say, her “Teacher,” she qualified herself as THE DISCIPLE. What a beautiful definition Mary Magdalene leaves us of herself: Disciple! That is to say: the one who learns, the one who listens, the one who follows. We can easily imagine in this light all those days of following Christ on the roads of Galilee, between small towns, villages, towns and cities; in the direction of Jerusalem or returning from it…. Mary was a sponge that absorbed from the teacher’s lips every last word, that recorded in her mind every last gesture, and that meditated in her heart, following the example of the other great Teacher, Mary of Nazareth, the words and deeds of the Son of God.
Let us reflect on how her choice to become a disciple by focusing on the life of the Master, allowed her to leave aside all other teachers. How in her radical choice to follow him – in gratitude for her liberation from evil – she did not blink once in leaving behind other people, environments, doctrines, entertainments that, now, in the light of her Master, must have seemed as simple to her as fireflies.
Dear friends, dear Magdala family, our celebration is coming. Let us entrust ourselves to Mary Magdalene. Let’s imitate her in being a disciple knowing the good it will do us. May we go to meet the Lord savoring on our lips and in our hearts that word that must have deeply moved the human and divine heart of Jesus of Nazareth: Rabboni!
Fr. Juan María Solana, L.C. and the Magdala team.