Clergy Notes — Eighth Sunday after Pentecost, July 18, 2021
“And then she hears her name, she hears Love say
The Word that turns her night, and ours, to Day.”
These verses come from the Malcolm Guite sonnet “Easter Dawn”, selected for Reflection this week. The sonnet muses on the encounter between Mary Magdalene (Feast Day July 22) and the Risen Christ on the first Easter morning, given to us in St. John’s Gospel (20.11-18).
That encounter, and the transformation it brings, always moves me: it brings home so vividly the significance of being named, being recognised, being known by our name. It highlights too the destructive impact of being unknown, of having our name ignored, mispronounced or misspelt; of it being changed, taken away, or even replaced by a number, as happened in the holocaust death-camps and at some residential schools, for example. It is an element of the current anguish over the children’s unmarked graves.
Mary Magdalene at the tomb is desolate and in despair. Where is the body of the Lord whom she loves? She asks the one she guesses is the Gardener, “Tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” It is only when he says, “Mary!” that she realises this is Jesus. Her grief is transported into joy.
So let us be careful to use others’ names with reverence, care and respect. And in the midst of life’s trials and tribulations, and in our last hour, may we hear the Risen Lord calling each of us by name, so transforming our sorrow, as Mary Magdalene’s, into the deepest joy.
Download the service booklet: Liturgy at Home Pentecost 8 July 18 2021