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Mary Magdalene - Intentional Disciple

Homily by Fr. David A. Runnion for July 26,2015

Homily by Fr. David A. Runnion for July 26,2015
________________________________________________________________________

After his baby brother's Baptism, little Johnny sobbed all the way home. His father asked him three times what was wrong. Finally, Johnny replied, "The priest said he wanted us brought up in a Christian home, but I want to stay with you guys."

Today, we honor St. Mary Magdalene, the Patroness of the Parish, who, once she encountered Christ, made her home with Christ and His followers –- those who through faith in Jesus and Baptism became the family of God.

When we think of St. Mary Magdalene, what do we think of? Perhaps a repentant sinner, a liberated soul, a hospitable woman, a caregiver, etc.? How about a disciple?

Above all, St. Mary Magdalene was an intentional disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ! Yes, she may have been those other things, but they formed a part of her path to, and her life of, discipleship in Christ.

What are the key marks of a disciple?

We might say: Faith, following, and finding.

First Mark of a Disciple: Faith and trust in Jesus as Lord and God.

A keen observer noted:

"The trouble with deep belief is that it costs something. And there is something inside me, some selfish beast of a subtle thing that doesn't like the truth at all because it carries responsibility, and if I actually believe these things I have to do something about them. It is so, so cumbersome to believe anything. And it isn't cool."[1]

Yet, regardless of the changing mores of secular society, a deep belief in the Lord Himself – that He is God come down from Heaven -- and trust in Him is the basis of abundant life here and now, and eternal life hereafter.

Second Mark of a Disciple: Personal surrender and commitment to Jesus, that is, dedication to following Him, His will, His teachings.

Someone said:

"Jesus of Nazareth always comes asking disciples to follow him –- not merely 'accept him,' not merely 'believe in him,' not merely 'worship him,' but to follow him: one either follows Christ, or one does not. There is no compartmentalization of the faith, no realm, no sphere, no business, no politic in which the lordship of Christ will be excluded. We either make him Lord of all lords, or we deny him as Lord of any."[2]

Third Mark of a Disciple: Most of all, the mark of a disciple is love of the Lord above all else and all others, so much that we live in Him and for Him, as the very reason for our being.

It is no coincidence that the Risen Lord appeared first to St. Mary Magdalene. The depth of her love for Jesus impelled her to seek Him out, and to serve Him and minister to Him, even in the tomb. Thus, as the Lord says in the Bible, "When you seek me with all your heart, then you will find me with you" (Dt 4:29). Seeking Him in love, she found the Lord.

Finally, after faith, following, and finding, Christ uses His disciples –- for corporal and spiritual works of mercy and to bring others to Christ Himself, that they, too, may become intentional disciples and come to love and follow Him with all their heart.

What is the extent of our love for Christ?

Are we seeking Him with all our heart?

Are we just an interested bystander, or His intentional disciple?

It has been said that, "The choice we face is not, as many imagine, between heaven and hell. Rather, the choice is between heaven and this world. Even a fool would exchange hell for heaven; but only the wise will exchange this world for heaven."[3]

In light of these considerations and the loving invitation of the Lord, two significant steps we can take are:

- Make an individual and a family commitment to follow Christ fully as His disciple(s); and

- Invoke the intercession of St. Mary Magdalene for Jesus to help everyone in this Parish-family to love the Lord with all our heart.

May the grace and peace of the Lord Jesus Christ guard us and guide us always along the path to life.


[1] Donald Miller, Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality, Thomas Nelson (2003).

[2] Lee Camp, Mere Discipleship: Radical Christianity in a Rebellious World, Brazos Press (2d ed., 2008).

[3] Dave Hunt, An Urgent Call to a Serious Faith, Harvest House Publishers (2000).

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