Mary Magdalene was an independent woman who had discretionary time and wealth from the city of Magdala,
not identified by a father or a husband. She was “exploited and despised by those who believed they were
righteous.” The Gospel tells how Jesus cast demons out of her (cf. Lk 8:2). She was loved, forgiven,
dramatically restored, healed, and changed by her encounter with Jesus. She then accompanied Jesus in his
ministry around the Galilee, before witnessing his crucifixion, burial and resurrection in Jerusalem. Mary
Magdalene is one of Jesus’ most prominent disciples, who stood by him to the end while his most devoted
apostles did not. She had the honour of being the first person to see the empty tomb. Her tears at Jesus’ empty
tomb are a reminder that “sometimes in our lives, tears are the lenses through which we need to see Jesus.” She
is the first to listen to the truth of the resurrection, “Jesus has a special consideration and mercy for this woman,
who manifests her love for him, looking for him in the garden with anguish and suffering.” There can be a
comparison between Eve, who “spread death where there was life,” and St. Mary Magdalene, who “proclaimed
life from the tomb, a place of death,” She is a lesson for all Christians, including the youth to trust in Christ who
is “alive and risen.” She is sent, the first missionary, to the apostles; therefore, St. Mary Magdalene is the
apostle of the apostles.
With so much happening in the pandemic-affected world today – the recession, job losses, retrenchments etc, it
seems like all the doors are closing right in front of our faces. It seems like there’s no way out of the situation
we’re in. We pray and pray day and night asking God to open up the windows of opportunity for us. Our
prayers and tears would turn to be the lenses to see Jesus. All the closed doors will be opened. We too will have
the honour to see the empty tomb. Jesus wants all of us to have a direct experience of Him, so that we become
the real witness of Him. Pope Francis in his Apostolic Exhortation Christ is Alive # 2 reminds us: “Christ is in
you, he is with you and he never abandons you. However far you may wander, he is always there, the Risen
One. He calls you and he waits for you to return to him and start over again. When you feel you are growing old
out of sorrow, resentment or fear, doubt or failure, he will always be there to restore your strength and your
The Church is sent, missionary by her very nature (Ad Gentes 2). She has always understood that great
transformations—the fall of the Roman Empire, the Enlightenment, industrialization, democratization, and
globalization—are phases rather than culminations as St. Paul said: “for the world in its present form is passing
away” (1 Cor 7:31). Jesus reminds us “You do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world”
(Jn 15:19). We, therefore are called to transform this world into that which God has intended it to be by
becoming true witnesses of the risen Lord. Indeed, as human beings, “we do not wage war according to human
standards; for the weapons of our warfare are not merely human, but they have divine power to destroy
strongholds. We destroy arguments and every proud obstacle raised up against the knowledge of God, and we
take every thought captive to obey Christ” (2 Cor 10:3-5). The Catholic social tradition is one in which the
faithful are obliged to be active in working for justice, freedom, respect for the dignity of the person, the
common good, and peace. In the words of St. Pope John Paul II, “The Christian cannot limit himself to
analyzing historical processes as they happen, maintaining a passive attitude, as if they were beyond his
capacity to intervene, as if we were led by blind and impersonal forces. Globalization, for all its risks, also
offers exceptional and promising opportunities, precisely with a view to enabling humanity to become a single
family, built on the values of justice, equity and solidarity.” St. Mary Magdalene an independent woman who
became dependent on the risen Christ and challenges the followers of Jesus to fight against the passing world by
saying ‘No’ to abortion, for example and endeavouring as young people, to be actively involved in stopping all
forms of violence against women. Only then can we create “new heavens and new earth” – a world that is truly