My Soul Clings To You

Today’s feast celebrates the great St. Mary of Magdala, a woman who Jesus set free from seven demons. This encounter with Christ led her to dedicate her life to following him throughout his ministry even to the foot of the cross.
Mary had a relationship with Jesus that is evoked in today’s Responsorial Psalm. The psalmist proclaims of the intimacy that he has with God; “My soul clings to you; your right-hand holds me fast.”
In today’s Gospel, we see Mary’s sorrow over the death of Jesus beautifully expressed in the Hebrew love poetry of the Song of Songs.
This reading portrays a woman who is separated from and searching everywhere for the one she loves. She searches all through the night until she ‘finds him whom my heart loves’.
Mary has the exact experience described in today’s First Reading. After being separated from the one she loves, Mary finds him alive and standing right in front of her!
So, given that Mary is someone whose soul clings to Jesus, why does Jesus tell her not to cling to him in today’s Gospel?
It is because Jesus is pointing beyond the face to face relationship that they already have.
Instead, Jesus is preparing her for the relationship of faith and love that he will have with her when he has ascended to the right hand of the Father.
So Mary is instructed not to cling to her rabbi’s feet, but to accept that the risen Jesus standing before is truly God.
This relationship goes beyond just teacher and student or saviour and saved. Jesus is inviting her into the all-encompassing relationship with God promised by the Psalms, whose “love is better than life.’

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