MARY MAGDALEN IS AN APOSTLE OF HOPE
Pope Francis continued his series of catecheses on Christian hope at today’s general audience and highlighted “Mary Magdalene, Apostle of Hope.”
He centered his talk on the Gospel of St John (20:15-18) where Mary ran to the tomb, looking for Jesusì body: “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 of Magdala went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord,”
The Holy Father explained that “St. John tells us on Easter morning Mary had gone to the tomb of Jesus; she saw that it was empty, and returned to tell this news to Peter and the other disciples. Returning to the tomb, yet still not understanding what had happened, Mary encounters the Risen Lord, but does not recognize him until he calls her by name.
“This first appearance of Jesus after rising from the dead,” said Francis, “is thus something intensely personal. We know that just as he did with Mary Magdalen, so too Jesus calls each of us by name and fills us with joy at his presence. Our encounter with him brings freedom and opens up new vistas of life; it transforms our world and brings undying hope.
Pope Francis noted that, “the risen Lord tells Mary not to cling to him, but to go and tell the good news of his resurrection to the others. Mary Magdalen thus becomes the apostle of Christian hope. By her prayers, may we be encounter anew the risen Lord, who calls us by name, turns our sorrow into joy, and sends us forth to proclaim by our lives that he is truly risen.”
After the audience catechesis, the Pope paid tribute to Polish military veterans who fought in the 1944 Battle of Montecassino because former soldiers from the Polish army’s Second Corps are in Rome for the anniversary of the Second World War battle and they attended today’s audience.
Francis praised the veterans who “fought for the freedom of your country and for other nations,” saying the “sacrifice of life” of their companions had helped bring peace to Europe and the whole world.
Well known here in Italy and a major event in history books, the Battle of Montecassino ivolved four allied assaults on German positions during a four month period and, as a result, tens of thousands died on both sides.
The Holy Father also greeted two orders of nuns as they celebrate their General Chapters in Rome, the Montfort Missionaries of the Company of Mary and the Perpetual Adorers of the Blessed Sacrament, urging both commnuties to renew their commitment to passing on the love of God to others and to “ renew their adherence to their respective charisms.”