A Great Love Story

I have often mused about the love story between Jesus and Mary Magdalene. Theirs must have been a wonderful relationship with a great deal of affection between the two of them. Jesus was a close friend of their family and He would often visit and spend, or waste, time with them. Mary would sit with Jesus and listen to his stories; while Martha was busy in the kitchen preparing something to eat and their brother Lazarus would hover around listening in.

Jesus was a major influence in the life of Mary Magdalene. She was a public sinner and was derided as such. But when she met Jesus, her life took a complete turn-around and she became one of the most faithful and devoted among the disciples. When all the others, including most of the apostles, abandoned Christ at His crucifixion; she was one of three women together with the beloved disciple who stayed. It was to her that the Risen Christ first revealed Himself to. And it was she that Christ asked to announce to the rest that He has risen.

Her story is the story of all those whose lives have been touched and changed by their encounter with Jesus: sinners changing for the better and changing not only their lives but even of those around them. It is a great love story that has been repeated in many lives, across the centuries and in many climes and places. It is a love story I have struggled all my life to live out.

The Lord gave them bread from heaven.
~ Psalm 78
Mary stayed outside the tomb weeping.
And as she wept, she bent over into the tomb
and saw two angels in white sitting there,
one at the head and one at the feet
where the Body of Jesus had been.
And they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?”
She said to them, “They have taken my Lord,
and I don’t know where they laid him.”
When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus there,
but did not know it was Jesus.
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.
Jesus said to her,
“Stop holding on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father.
But go to my brothers and tell them,
‘I am going 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 then reported what he told her.
John 20:11-18
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