Mary Magdalene could well be called “the patron saint of sinners” – which makes her a patron saint of us all. There is a great deal of speculation about Mary Magdalene today as to which “Mary” in the Gospels refers to her and which does not.
What is profoundly true about Mary Magdalene was that she was converted to Christ. Our first reading from St. Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians is about conversion. Some people had complained about the kind of people Paul was bringing into the Church, and Paul says that in Christ each of us is a new creation. Mary Magdalene became a new creation in Christ whatever the details of her past. That is the most significant truth about her that is firmly rooted in the Gospels.
She then became a witness to the risen Christ. And as we see in today’s gospel reading, she became an “Apostle to the Apostles.” She was the first to tell them about the Resurrection.
Mary Magdalene’s life shows us the truth of an old adage: “Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.” What we have been or what we are does not decide what we can be.
Joseph Krempa has this to say about this matter: “People of strong virtue and holiness do not just happen.” “The road to holiness is a difficult one.” “Saints do not drop out of heaven; they are created here on earth.” “Every saint has a past.”
Krempa adds, “Whatever our past may be does not have to be our future.” “We can become new in Christ and take a different turn in our life.” “When we do so, we can become a witness to the power of Christ as Mary Magdalene was.” “Every sinner has a future.”
If we turn to the Lord, he has a great future in store for each of us. We can be a better person, a more beautiful child of God, a more loving Christian, a more merciful brother or sister, a more compassionate neighbor, a more Christ-like disciple. We just have to allow the Lord to make us a new creation and let the great future he has for us come true. Let us allow this simple truth to inspire us: “Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.”