This is the second post of my Holy Week Meditations for 2012. Please click here for the archive list of posts as they become available.
Intimate Authority: Holy Week Meditation, 2
Luke 7: 36-50 introduces us to Mary Magdalene. Mercy drew her out of fear and shame, and compelled her to offer herself to Him. Jesus embodied that Mercy for a prostitute. Imagine that: a kind, strong, handsome man who only wanted her good, nothing from her but her dignity. And a holy man who did not fear her and the entanglement of desires she lay at His feet.
She wept and lingered there. His Mercy was magnetic, a good match for her courage in abiding there as the Pharisee looked on aghast. She demonstrated from the start the transformation of intimacy: abundant Mercy provoking a wholehearted response.
Weeping and lingering. What else better defines intimate reliance upon another but weeping and lingering? Love alone provokes tears for another; love alone compels us to wait, to abide, to linger. These simple expressions of intimacy—tears and lingering—are the basis for Mary’s authority.
In Christ, this woman of many men recognized the Real Thing—the Source of unfailing love. Perhaps some of us have experienced times where Mercy drew us out and compelled us to pour out our broken hearts before Him. Mercy primed us, the dam broke, and we arose from the puddle grateful and slightly embarrassed.
The challenge? Walking out the ‘encounter.’ A weepy interlude based on recognizing the Christ must become ongoing reliance upon Him. Divine romance is easy; marriage is hard. Long after the chemical charge, we wake up in a lonely bed and must make the daily effort to probe the unseen Reality of Christ-with-us.
Mary helps us here. Soon after her encounter with the Luke 7 account, we become aware that Magdalene was among a small group of women who accompanied the disciples and Jesus as He traveled from one town to another; according to Scripture, these women provided for the Kingdom band with their own funds. (Lk 8: 1-3)
In other words, she followed Him. Her surrender to Him was ongoing and included her time, her money, and what we can assume were ongoing gestures of care. Matthew describes Mary and her band of Jesus’ supporters as those who followed Him in order ‘to care for His needs.’ (Matt. 27:55)
Caring for Jesus’ needs. How do we do that today? Certainly by spending time with Him, taking in His Words, exhaling ours, giving Him the treasure of our time. And by advancing His rule and reign by offering ourselves to those we love most, which must include the lost and least if we are to care for those He loves most.
We can assume that Mary’s intimacy with Jesus involved both prayerful lingering before Him, and weeping with those who weep. His Kingdom became hers; she immersed herself in His world. Mary Magdalene embodied the words of St. Faustina Kowalska: ‘The more I have known You Jesus, the more I desire You.’
This is the bond He loves, a bond He vows not to break, an intimacy with us that surpasses whatever kingdom He called us out of. Dylan was right: ‘You gotta serve somebody’, be it a pimp, a fantasy, or your own defended self.
Like Mary, let’s seek and serve Jesus. Let us depend on Him. He offers us Mercy, His beauty, unseen but more real and true than any of His creations. Truly He is worthy of our surrender, a life yielded to His.