St. Mary Magdalene II

Beloved in Christ, 2000 years ago, there lived in the little town of Bethany, two sisters, Martha and Mary, who also had a brother named Lazarus. Mary had been from her youth a headstrong and passionate child; with her independent ways, she was impatient with the dull, quiet life of Bethany. For Mary, the call of the big city lured her; the caravans passing through town and stories about King Herod, led her to dream of adventures, where her beauty and talents would not be wasted. In the end, she could endure it no longer. She left her home and her heart-broken brother and sister; she won her way in the world and became quite popular, thanks to her dominating character and her beauty.
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Eventually she came to live in the city of Magdala. There, Mary of Bethany quickly developed into Mary of Magdalene. She acquired a reputation; a woman whom respectable people avoided, the talk of the town. So tells Father Goodier, who uses what we know from scripture, to fill in the pieces of the life of Mary Magdalene.
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Her name came to be associated with reckless defiance. In her daring she had found everything she wanted, but had lost all that mattered. She had been the flattered woman of the world, but it had drained her, and now she was just ‘a woman in the city – a sinner.’ Mary had no one to love her. In her defiant nature, Mary of Magdalene kept telling herself that she did not need love. Yet still dormant deep in her soul, was the little girl of Bethany, who as a child, had known God, and who had known love.
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The day came when that new prophet had passed by her town. She had heard of this man Jesus, who taught that even sinners were God’s children; who taught about beginning again, starting over in life. Could she really be forgiven? Was it really possible? One day she caught a glimpse of Jesus, and suddenly her heart expanded – without explanation, this headstrong, defiant woman, made a new decision: if she could be forgiven by Jesus, she would be the greatest disciple he ever had.
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And so in her boldness, she pushed her way into that public dinner, and in her reckless love, she broke the jar of perfume and anointed the feet of Jesus, wiping them with her hair. Her stubborn heart had been transformed to Christ. In an instant the old life slipped away.
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Jesus would bring her back to Bethany, and henceforth, Our Lord would often stop in Bethany to visit, where he always found a grateful child of God. Mary of Magdalene was at the cross with Jesus, and she was the first to see the risen Lord as we read today.
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You noticed that we said the ‘Gloria’ today. It is a Feast. The Holy Father, in this year of Mercy, has elevated this Memorial of St. Mary Magdalene to that of a Feast!  We can’t be sure about the details of her life, but we do know that Mary Magdalene is a hope for us sinners, a living testament to the wonderful mercy of Jesus Christ.

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