The Pope stressed that every person has a story of love that God writes for them on earth, calling each one by name.
“He knows us by name, he watches over us, he waits for us, he forgives us, he is patient with us. True or not true?” Francis said, saying “each one of us has this experience.”
Pointing to the joy Mary felt after discovering Jesus had indeed risen from the dead, the Pope said it’s a happiness that isn’t given in small drops, but is rather “a waterfall” that envelops our entire lives.
“The Christian existence is not woven on fluffy happiness, but on waves that engulf everyone,” he said, and encouraged the crowd to place themselves in the Gospel scene, “with the bags of disappointments and defeats that each one carries in their heart.”
In that instant, he said, “there is a God close to us who calls us by name and says: ‘Rise, cease your tears, because I have come to free you!’”
Jesus, he said, is not someone who adapts to the world, tolerating the death, sadness, hatred and the moral destruction of people. Rather, “our God is not inert, but dreams of the transformation of the world, and he realized it in the mystery of the Resurrection,” he said.
Turning to Mary Magdalene, Francis said her example is one of hope, and that her intercession helps us to live the experience of the Resurrection, because “at the time of tears and abandonment, she hears the Risen Jesus who calls us by name, and with a heart full of joy goes to announce: I have seen the Lord!”
This isn’t the first time the Pope has drawn attention to the importance of Mary Magdalene. Just last year, in June 2016, Francis signed a decree bumping the liturgical celebration honoring the Saint from a memorial to a feast, putting her on par with the apostles.
On the Church’s liturgical calendar, saints are honored with a “memorial,” a “feast,” or a “solemnity.” Solemnities rank the highest, with feasts coming in second and memorials in third.
While there are 15 other memorials on Mary Magdalene’s July 22 feast, hers was the only obligatory one to celebrate. After being elevated to the level of a feast, the celebration bears a more significant weight.