2 Corinthians 5:14-17
For the love of Christ urges us on, because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died. And he died for all, so that those who live might live no longer for themselves, but for him who died and was raised for them.
From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way. So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!
Psalm 63: 1-8
O God, you are my God, I seek you,
my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you,
as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary,
beholding your power and glory.
Because your steadfast love is better than life,
my lips will praise you.
So I will bless you as long as I live;
I will lift up my hands and call on your name.
My soul is satisfied as with a rich feast,
and my mouth praises you with joyful lips
when I think of you on my bed,
and meditate on you in the watches of the night;
or you have been my help,
and in the shadow of your wings I sing for joy.
My soul clings to you;
your right hand upholds me.
John 20: 1-2, 11-18
Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.”
But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; and she told them that he had said these things to her.
Today, the readings reflect on the character of St. Mary Magdalene, the woman who came first to Jesus’s tomb. She was there before the sun even rose. She no longer lived for herself but she lived for Christ and came to serve him. In her actions, she was not looking out for herself. She had the best interests of Jesus in mind. This self death, that was apparent in her, is what gave her the grace to see Jesus risen from the dead.
In our walks with the Lord, complete death of self can take a very long time to achieve. Mary Magdalene had once been in a place of needing deliverance and being completely helpless, needing Jesus to save her. After that, she knew she needed to depend on the Lord so completely to the point where even after his death she still focused and attended to him. It is when we recognize that we can do nothing without Jesus that we are ready and open to receive him completely. It is the place where we are not thinking about ourselves at all but only Jesus, that the truth of the resurrection can be fully realized in us.
In the same way that two people in love are not occupied with themselves but in the other person, Jesus desires that same level of love and commitment with us. Let us pray that we too can have the same level of self denial and love for Christ that Mary Magdalene had.
Prayer: Dear Jesus, thank you for your death and resurrection and love for me. I desire to give you all of my heart and be completely dead to myself and live only for you. Help me to grow in my love and devotion to you. St. Mary Magdalene, pray for us!