Source: Agenzia Fides – MIL OSI
Headline: ASIA/HOLY LAND – Patriarch Pizzaballa: the proclamation of the Gospel passes through the gratitude of “forgiven sinners”, such as Mary Magdalene
Magdala – Men and women of all times, to be reached and touched by the announcement of the Risen Christ, need “witnesses in the same league”, “sinners like the Apostles and as we are today”. And the story of Mary of Magdala, the first eyewitness and the first herald of Christ’s resurrection, suggests that Christian witness can only flourish from the gratitude of forgiven sinners, who foretold in their lives the salvation and healing given by Christ himself. Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Patriarch of Jerusalem of the Latins, repeated this during the mass celebrated today, Saturday, April 10, in Magdala, a small town on the western shore of Lake Tiberias. In his homily, focusing precisely on the evangelical figure of Mary of Magdala, the Patriarch re-proposed in simple and suggestive terms what are the source and dynamism of every apostolic witness and every missionary adventure, linking the experience of Magdalene, first person to whom the Risen Lord appears, and sending the incredulous disciples to Galilee or to all people. The appearance of the Risen Christ to Mary Magdalene – the Patriarch pointed out at the beginning of his homily – is an important detail of the Gospel announcement. With the passion and death of Jesus, his disciples, out of any rigid ‘religious’ obstinacy, “had lost faith, except the Mother of the Lord. Mary of Magdala, therefore, is the one through whom God, with the encounter with the risen one, reconnects the bond with men”. Like Mary, who according to the Gospel account had been “possessed by seven demons”, whose life had truly been “immersed in sin”, but her encounter with the Lord freed her, forgave her, saved her”. Mary of Magdala – continued the Patriarch – is the one who represents us, our human condition marked by sin and the expectation of healing: “We could not be represented by the Virgin Mary because she has always remained faithful; she is without sin. We, on the other hand, are sinners. She is also an image of the Church. The Church that the fathers of the Church called “Casta Meretrix,” saint and sinner, is represented by Mary of Magdala”. The Virgin Mary is a mother of the Church and our Mother, as the Council reminds us. On the other hand, Mary of Magdala is a figure of the Church, which is composed of sinners but is at the same time reconciled with the Father from the presence of risen Christ.