Monday in the Octave of Easter
One could teach an anatomy class in the city of Rome with all the various relics available for the veneration of the faithful. One relic always has my special affection, simply because the story surrounding the relic reflects the full gamut of human experience and the essential message of our Christian faith. The relic is the foot of Mary Magdalene.
The church of St. John the Baptist of the Florentines has a splendid reliquary, all gold and silver, which contains the foot of Mary Magdalene. Now on first consideration the foot may not stand out (no pun intended) in any special way compared to the many relics which reside in the eternal city. The sign of the above the small shrine holding the relic gives the reason for its importance: This was the first foot in the tomb of Jesus after the resurrection. We can image how that foot of Mary Magdalene must have dragged along the gravel path on the way to the tomb, a slow shuffle to the remains of a tragic ending. We all remember that slow walk we have taken at some point in our life from the car to the graveside at the cemetery when it was time to say our final goodbyes to a parent, a child, or a friend.
Today’s gospel has that same foot transformed from a shuffle to a race, racing to share the news with the apostle. What was it that enabled Mary Magdalen to run, probably barefoot, over a stony, towards a group of fearful and frightened apostles? The image of Mary’s race from the tomb may encourage all of us to think of those stories and events that shape our lives or reshape our lives. What stories make us race and fill us with the desire to share this story with others? Perhaps this Easter season would be a time when we can ask ourselves which of the many stories we hear are the ones that shape our lives.