Six Marys are mentioned in the New Testament, including Mary Magdalene, who is remembered this month in the church’s calendar. What can we learn from Mary’s story?
We don’t have to be defined by our past:
When Jesus encountered Mary, He cast seven demons out of her (Luke 8:2). As a result, her life was transformed, and she became a follower of Jesus. Her life as a disciple was no longer defined by the person she had been before. Like Mary, we don’t have to let our past without Christ dictate how we see ourselves today.
Put Jesus at the centre of our world:
Along with some of the women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases (Luke 8:1-3), Mary followed Jesus and His disciples and supported them in ministry. She was there at the cross (Matthew 27:55-56) and one of the first to the tomb on the Sunday (Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:1 and John 20:1-18). Like Mary, we are called to serve Jesus as dedicated disciples.
Jesus uses the weakest in the world:
Mary is a great example of Paul’s words, ‘But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong’ (1 Corinthians 1:27). At a time when women were regarded as second-class citizens with no real autonomy, Jesus had a special compassion and care for women. Alongside Mary, the women’s witness to the resurrection was taken seriously.
We should be careful not to dismiss the things that don’t follow our expectations, because Jesus doesn’t always do what we expect! He delights in working out His plans through unlikely people and in surprising ways. He did this through Mary, and if we let Him, He can do it through us!
The feature image for this post (cropped) is “TINTORETTO – Magdalena penitente Musei Capitolini Roma 1598-1602”, Wikicommons (P.D.)