Tuesday in the Octave of Easter

Hindsight is 20/20. We know today that Mary Magdalene had some truly exciting news to share with the Apostles—“I have seen the Lord!” We know that it is exciting because we know that it is true. But when the Apostles were hiding in the Upper Room, there was not much precedent for dead messiahs coming back to life. For Mary Magdalene to go to the Apostles and declare that Jesus is alive would have been more likely to earn her derision than praise. They might want to say that she was merely a woman in hysterics, overcome by emotion. And yet Mary Magdalene goes. She goes to bring the truth of the Resurrection to the Apostles, in spite of all fear, in spite of all consequences.

Mary Magdalene is a model of evangelization to us today. The idea of the Resurrection can seem crazy.  In the Jefferson Bible, Thomas Jefferson was content to edit the Gospels so that they ended with the rolling of the stone in front of the tomb. Jesus had a good moral message, but conquering death is a step too far. When we tell the world that Jesus has risen, we say that he was not just a good moral teacher, at most the first among equals. We say that He has changed reality as no one else has, and no one else could. People might not want to believe us. They might deride us, and say we are too attached to Christianity. In such moments, we need the courage of Mary Magdalene to proclaim the Resurrection.

April 18th, 2017