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The Everyday Prayer

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Icon of the Holy Face
Church of Sant'Egidio, Rome

Memory of Mary Magdalene. She announced to the disciples that the Lord was risen.

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

This is the Gospel of the poor,
liberation for the imprisoned,
sight for the blind,
freedom for the oppressed.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

John 20, 1-2.11-18

It was very early on the first day of the week and still dark, when Mary of Magdala came to the tomb. She saw that the stone had been moved away from the tomb

and came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved. 'They have taken the Lord out of the tomb,' she said, 'and we don't know where they have put him.'

But Mary was standing outside near the tomb, weeping. Then, as she wept, she stooped to look inside,

and saw two angels in white sitting where the body of Jesus had been, one at the head, the other at the feet.

They said, 'Woman, why are you weeping?' 'They have taken my Lord away,' she replied, 'and I don't know where they have put him.'

As she said this she turned round and saw Jesus standing there, though she did not realise that it was Jesus.

Jesus said to her, 'Woman, why are you weeping? Who are you looking for?' Supposing him to be the gardener, she said, 'Sir, if you have taken him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will go and remove him.'

Jesus said, 'Mary!' She turned round then and said to him in Hebrew, 'Rabbuni!' -- which means Master.

Jesus said to her, 'Do not cling to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to the brothers, and tell them: I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'

So Mary of Magdala told the disciples, 'I have seen the Lord,' and that he had said these things to her.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Son of Man came to serve,
whoever wants to be great
should become servant of all.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Today the liturgy commemorates Mary Magdalene. She, a woman from Magdala, met Jesus, who had freed her from the seven demons. From that moment she began to follow him and never abandoned him, not when he was alive and not when he was dead. The Gospel shows her while she cries beside the empty tomb. They had taken her Lord away. The loss of the only one who had understood her in the past few years made her run and induced her to seek him, even though he was dead. How little we cry over the loss of the Lord! Mary, instead, is dejected. She asks everyone, the two angels and the "gardener", where Jesus is. She is completely set on finding him. Nothing else interests her. She is truly an example of the true believer who seeks the Lord. She even asks the "gardener." She sees Jesus with her eyes, but she does not recognize him until he calls her by name. The same happens with us with the Gospel. It is not our eyes who allow us to recognize Jesus, but his voice. That timbre, that tone, that name tenderly pronounced that had touched her heart so many times, make the barrier fall away, and Mary recognizes her Teacher. To listen to him even just once, means not to abandon him any longer. We cannot forget the voice of Christ (the Gospel). Even if we hear it for just a moment, we will no longer renounce it. Familiarity with the words of the Gospel, indeed, is familiarity with the Lord: it constitutes the way along which we will see and meet him. Mary throws herself at Jesus’ feet and embraces him with the longing affection of who one who has found again the decisive man of her life. But Jesus tells her: "Do not hold on me... But go to my brothers." Gospel love is an energy that pushes us to go beyond. Mary was even happier as she ran toward the disciples to announce to all: "I have seen the Lord!" She, the sinner, had become the first to announce the Gospel. For this reason, the Byzantine tradition calls her "the apostle of the apostles".

Memory of Jesus crucified