From the Pastor July 17, 2016

From the Pastor    July 17, 2016

16th Sunday in

Ordinary Time – C


My next reflection is on Saint Mary Magdalene, Feast Day: July 22. On June 10, Pope Francis elevated her from an Obligatory Memorial to a Feast; besides a full set of orations [Collect, Prayer over the Offerings and Prayer after Communion] Mary of Magdela, history’s most falsely maligned woman, now gets the Gloria prayed on her Feast Day!


For over the centuries she has been wrongly condemned as the adulterous woman thrown at Jesus’ feet, about whom He said: “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” [John 8:7b] Nor was she the sinful woman who washed and dried Jesus’ feet with her tears and hair, anointing them with ointment. For after that event the Gospel speaks of additional disciples, among who were “some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out.” [Luke 8:7]
And when the Gospels speak of evil spirits, there is no mention of any sexual sins; perhaps those with a guilty conscience are reading too much into these texts! Nor was she the sister of Martha and Lazarus. Here’s what Mary Magdalene’s Feast Day orations say about her.


Collect – Saint Mary Magdalene


O God, whose Only Begotten Son

entrusted Mary Magdalene before all others

with announcing the great joy

of the Resurrection, grant, we pray,

that through her intercession and example

we may proclaim the living Christ

and come to see him reigning in your glory.

Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


THE APOSTLE TO THE APOSTLES. It was Saint Thomas Aquinas who gave Mary Magdalene the special title, “Apostle of the Apostles”
and honored her with this touching comment: “Just as a woman had announced the words of death to the first man, so also a woman was the first to announce to the Apostles the words of life” [Super Ioannem, ed. Cai, 2519.] This oration asks Mary Magdalene to empower us by her prayers and example to do the same: to announce the Gospel of Life in all we say and do. While we do not know why the Risen Lord gave her this honor, but by reading ‘into’ the story, we can deduce a few possible reasons that are echoed in her other orations.


Prayer over the Offerings – Saint Mary Magdalene


Accept, O Lord, the offerings presented in commemoration of Saint Mary Magdalene,

whose homage of charity was graciously accepted by your Only Begotten Son.

Who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.


HOMAGE OF CHARITY. As I mentioned above, Saint Luke names Mary Magdalene as one of the female supporters of our Lord and His ministry. We assume she and the others helped finance, and performed household chores, cooked and mended and did all the other things women typically did for men … and still do! What Parish does not have, as we do, a team of faith-filled women who serve in so many ministerial and supportive roles?


This oration beautifully ties what these biblical women did with what we are presently doing, as we offer our financial gifts and the bread and wine that represent all we have and all we are. In return, the Lord accepts them and transforms them into a continuation of His ministry, and into His Real Presence in the Eucharist – which we receive so we can become His presence!


Prayer after Communion – Saint Mary Magdalene


May the holy reception of your mysteries,

Lord, instill in us that persevering love

with which Saint Mary Magdalene

clung resolutely to Christ her Master.

Who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.


What Mary Magdalene was blessed to touch and hear in
flesh, we touch and hear in sacramental
signs: the very voice and presence of the Risen Lord! Perhaps she received this grace because – unlike all but one of the Twelve Apostles, she – and some other women – faithfully stood at the Cross until our Lord’s lifeless Body was entombed. Then she courageously and defiantly returned to anoint His corpse, but instead beheld Him face-to-face – as we will one day … if we always cling to Him! Saint Mary Magdalene, pray for us!


In His holy Name,




Rev. Thomas J. Serafin, KHS