Saint Mary Magdalene was a woman of “incredible” love, an “apostle to the apostles” and Jesus’ most beloved disciple.
As the Church celebrated the Feast of Mary Magdalene July 22, Archbishop Jason Gordon hoped that the Feast Day would allow persons to reflect on the leadership of women in today’s Church.
“And I know that that is a touchy issue. Not so?” Archbishop Jason Gordon said during a Mass at Archbishop’s Chapel on Wednesday.
While Mary Magdalene was not at the Last Supper to be ordained priest, “she was more than a priest”.
The Archbishop asserted that like Mary Magdalene, there are many women in the Church who hold a role not by office of an ordination but by office of the call that Jesus has given to them to live.
“…and therefore, we must now see the Church not simply as the hierarchy that we are accustomed to seeing her with. We must also see the Church as people who have an office… the office of Mary Magdalene, and whose office is an office of love and whose love is a love that is a dying sacrificial love that will follow Jesus to the cross…” the Archbishop said.
In the homily, Archbishop Gordon said while there is not much known about Mary Magdalene, what is known is that she followed Jesus till the end—an image of discipleship that the Church has put before us.
“The really important thing that we know is that the 12 disciples managed to miss the point. All of them expect for one, the beloved. They managed at the moment when Jesus needed them to follow Him, that they managed not to follow Him, and to run and to hide to preserve their life. And we know that Mary Magdalene did not do that. She did not run, she did not hide and she did not preserve her life,” the Archbishop highlighted.
Another known fact of Mary Magdalene is that whom Mary was before she encountered Jesus Christ was not who Mary was after she encountered Him.
She was the first to encounter the Risen Lord. She presumed He was a gardener. He asked her: “Woman why are you weeping? Who are you looking for? And this is important to understand. That the Risen Christ did not look like the Christ who died….”
The Archbishop opined that for whoever encountered the Risen Christ, their mind would not allow them to see that His physical appearance was different.
What is also important, Archbishop Gordon said, is that as Mary was engaging this “strange figure” whom she did not know until He said ‘Mary’.
Ultimately, Archbishop Gordon maintained Saint Mary Magdalene is the apostle to the apostles because she brings the Good News to the disciples about the Resurrection of Jesus, an announcement, he said, that stirs them to faith in the Resurrection.
By Kaelanne Jordan