Deacon Steven Johnson’s Homily
July 22, 2021
Homily for the 16th Week of Ordinary Time, Thursday, 7-22-21, Year B
Readings: 1st Sg 3:1-4a, Gospel Jn 20:1-2, 11-18
Memorial – St. Mary Magdalene
Theme: Seek the One Whom Your Heart Loves
Mary Magdalene loved the Lord. She loved Him so much that she risked her own life following Jesus to His cross. She was there at the foot of the cross, with Mary, and St. John, the only three out of all of Jesus’s disciples. Jesus saved Mary Magdalene from her demonic possession because of her love for Him and knowing that He was God, who could do all things. She had found the one whom her heart loves. But, when Jesus appeared to die on the cross, she let her earthy life taint her faith and believed that she had lost the lover of her soul.
2,559 years ago, the “poem of love” was written, The Song of Songs. Even though it is attributed to Solomon who lived sometime in mid-900 BC, it is believed to have been written much later by an unknown author after the Babylonian exile and return to Israel in 538 BC. It is a beautiful, poetic song, in poem form, depicting the love between the Lord and His people, or more precisely, the Lord and the souls of His people.
As in the times of the author, love between the Lord and His people is expressed as a marriage, a bond between two people who vow to be together for life in perfect love. When one or the other is away the heart fanes for them, searching, waiting for that reunion, that embrace that brings joy and peace, comfort, and contentment.
We find that longing, that searching for the lover of our soul, in the today’s verses of the Song of Songs. We feel that longing, the inability to rest until every nook, every cranny is searched, and the lover of our soul is found. We search long into the night until our soul is embraced in the heart of our Lord.
Mary Magdalene could very well have written this verse of the Song of Songs in today’s reading as she searched for Jesus’s body, not knowing she was really looking for Jesus Himself! For Mary Magdalene, in the early morning darkness, after the watch of the night, she found the one whom her heart loves.
It is noteworthy that in both the person of the Song of Songs and Mary Magdalene of John’s Gospel, they both search for something that is right in front of them the whole time. Our searching, to see God’s love, is only prolonged as long as our vision is obscured by our earthly desires.
Do we recognize God in our everyday life? Do we feel His love for us at all times? Do we get mired down in our own self-pity or frustrations that we can’t find the lover of our souls? Sometimes we just need to open our eyes and heart to see what was right there in front of us the whole time.
Don’t let your earthly life cloud your vision and dull your senses to the Lord. If it does, search for Him in prayer, at Mass, in others who do good and in your own heart and soul. Then and only then will you find the one whom your heart loves!