Homily (Reflection) for the Memorial of Saint Mary Magdalene (22nd July, 2016) on the Gospel and the Memorial

Jer 3:14-17;
Jer 31:10-13. (R. cf. v.10);
Matt 13:18-23.

Saint Mary Magdalene was mentioned at least twelve times in the Gospels and was regarded as a prostitute or sexually immoral in the western Christianity based on misidentification with the anonymous sinner of Luke 7:37. However, recent studies reveal that this is never scripturally based. She is known as the ‘Apostle to the Apostles’. Jesus cast seven demons out of her (cf. Luke 8:2).[1] She likely watched the crucifixion and was the first to witness Christ’s resurrection. Mary Magdalene was allegedly put in a boat along with several others, and set adrift. The boat landed in southern France, where she spent the rest of her life in solitude, in a cave. She is the patroness of converts, repentant sinners, sexual temptation, pharmacists, tanners and women, and many other places and causes.[2]

Topic: Prepare the ground.

This gospel explains the parable of the sower we read two days ago. The seed on the path is one who hears the word of God and does not understand it, the evil one takes it away. When one receives the word with joy but without root, he/she easily falls away when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word. This is the seed on the rocky ground. The seed among thorns is the one who hears the word but the earthly worries and lure of wealth choke the word. And one who hears the word and understands it is the seed on good soil.

The emphasis is on understanding the word and not on hearing. Borrowing the words of Saint Paul, people have heard the word of God, cf. Rom 10:18. However, to what extent it has been understood is a subject of another discussion. Those Christ called blessed are not the ones who only hear the word of God but those who hear it and do (keep) it, cf. Lk 8:21. 11:28.

Everyone has some roles to play both to hear and to understand the word of God. They include listening and asking pertinent questions, cf. Deut 32:7; Matt 10:14; Mk 9:7; Lk 9:35. The unfolding of God’s words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple, cf. Ps 119:130. Everyone must therefore humbly turn to God for help to understand His word.

Mary Magdalene was possessed with seven demons when she encountered Christ. She was turned to a very good soil. One might not be the best of soil today, but one can still make his/her soil better for the word of God; “the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit” (Eph 6:17).

Bible Reading: Eph 6:10-17.

Thought for today: People die for want of knowledge, cf. Hos 4:6.

Let us pray: Lord, give us your Spirit, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD – Amen (cf. Is 11:2).

Saint Mary Magdalene – Pray for us.

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