All too often, we think of Saint Mary Magdalene, whose memorial we celebrate today, as the “sinful woman,” from the Gospel. Even though it is highly debatable whether Mary Magdalene was actually the unnamed “sinful woman,” she nonetheless has been labeled this way over the centuries. We rarely focus on how Mary Magdalene was healed by Jesus and how she became a faithful disciple to the Lord. In the same way, we ourselves can fall into the pattern of recalling only our sins and our sinfulness while forgetting how we too have been healed by God and how like Mary Magdalene we strive in the midst of our human frailties to be faithful disciples.
Yet, as we hear in the first reading from Micah, our God is a God who removes guilt and pardons sin. In Mary Magdalene, we find an example of a person who has been healed by Jesus and whose conversion leads her to faithful discipleship. At the same time, she faces the same all too human challenges we do and when beset by grief in the wake of Jesus’ Passion, she is cast into a spiritual darkness. In this darkness, she is unable to see Jesus standing right before her. Saint Ignatius Loyola counsels us to be attentive during such times of spiritual darkness so that we do not become overly focused on our sins and lose sight of God’s healing power.
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