Active Advent Waiting

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Mary Magdalene

Mary Magdalene: after Mary, she is probably the most famous woman of the Gospels. She had been cured, she was the one "from whom seven demons had gone out" (Lk 8:2) but was not content with her physical healing and, along with the Twelve, and other women, followed Jesus who " journeyed from one town and village to another, preaching and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God" (Lk 8:1). She understood that the meaning of her life was to follow Jesus and that was the path that lead to Cross and the empty tomb.

In John’s Gospel, she is the first one to whom the Risen Lord appeared: "Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” She thought it was the gardener and said to him, “Sir, if you carried him away, tell me where you laid him, and I will take him.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni,” which means Teacher." (Jn 20:15-16). And again, this woman from Magdala was the first evangelizer announcing the Good News.

We do not know if Mary Magdalene had children but quoting the words of Cristiana Dobner, a Discalced Carmelite, "if we look for a maternity in faith, this motherhood bears the name of Mary Magdalene and is open to that long line, even today, which is little known if not underestimated, of mothers who, over the centuries, can be linked to the fathers of the Church. It is palpable and thus proves the existence of "Matristics"”.

In this Advent, Mary Magdalene reminds us that to wait Jesus is not a passive act, but a setting out on a journey, recognizing where he has already intervened in our lives in order to heal us. Waiting for Jesus means looking for and being found, lending our ears to hear him pronounce our name as Mary did outside the tomb. And when this encounter takes place, witnessing to the Good News with our lives.

Mary Magdalene was not at the grotto in Bethlehem to welcome Jesus when he was born but she was at the grotto of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. At the end of this Advent journey, we prepare to celebrate the light that shines in the first grotto and which illuminates our nativity scenes, knowing that the same light was to shine in the tomb sealing the victory of life over death, joined by the one great mystery of a God who loves us to the point of becoming flesh and laying down his life for us.

(IV week of Advent 2016)