My friend and brother deacon John Gerke, from the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, preached the Mass at NDICE this morning, the Feast of St. Mary Magdalene. The congregation was full of deacons and their wives. I had a plane to catch and missed the Mass — but John sent me his text. It’s too good not to share.
I’m going to tell you all something that may shock you.
Not every parish in our Archdiocese follows the directives of the Roman Missal 100 percent perfectly.
I became very aware of the fact in the first parish I was assigned to at the practice for Easter Vigil during my first year there.
As we were walking through our Easter Vigil rehearsal, Brother Vince, who was our MC, told me that as the Alleluia verse began, the Book of the Gospels would be brought in…in solemn procession, from the back of the church…..
By a woman.
Now, being, still nice and shiny and newly ordained….
and perhaps a bit invested in the belief that, somehow, that was my job…
I asked him why.
And he explained that the reason they….the friars….. do the Gospel book procession this way…this one time a year..
Was because of the fact, that the first witness to the Resurrection was…..a woman.
Just as we heard in today’s Gospel.God chose…
Not the upcoming head of his new Church…..Peter, to receive that gift…that honor.
Not the disciple who he had a deep and abiding love for……John
Nor any other person of authority, or importance, or influence or power….
God chose Mary Magdalene.
A simple person with no status, with no authority who had come to do what it was hers to do.
To anoint his body.
To care for him
To serve him..
One last time…
Mary Magdalene modeled for us, what it was to be a servant
What it is…..
To be a deacon
In that simple act of loving….of caring for our Lord…
Even when, to all appearances….
That he was dead…..
That the dream…..of Jesus as Messiah….
Of Jesus as Lord and Savior…
And even perhaps the Son of God
Had died in shame on that cross at Calvary.
Mary had simply come to do what it was hers to do.
And with Faith….
Let us all pray, brothers and sisters
That God will give us the grace
To love without expectation of being loved in return
To care for all without the expectation that care will be rewarded.
And to do, simply, what it is ours to do.
To do as Mary Magdalene did.
To Love, to serve, to care for the Body of Christ…here on Earth
To be a deacon.