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'You shall do the same works that I do'. Mary of Magdala. Meditation Day Fifteen

'You shall do the same works that I do'

Mary of Magdala, Meditation Day Fifteen

Studying the picture

Mary of Magdala. Rogier van der Weyden (1399-1464). Viennese tableau of the crucifixion altar.

Click here or on the picture for an enlargement.

I like this painting of Mary of Magdala. The Flemish artist presents her as a mysterious person, an individual, thoughtful, capable of both contemplation and action. And look at the flask of ointment in her hands. She wears it carefully because she knows its purpose. She will anoint the Lord’s feet with it -- and the feet of others to whom she will minister. For Mary, once healed, will become a healer herself.

“My time is up”, Jesus said. “I am going to the Father. If you believe in me, you will do the same things I do. You will do even greater things than I do” (Jn 14,12). Jesus is positive. First: ‘the same things’. As Mary of Magdala, we remember him first of all as the Great Healer. He healed a blind man along the road, a lame man in a bathhouse, lepers on the outskirts of a village and the woman at the well in Sichar. At other times they came to him. Sick people, people thirsting for spiritual food. We have our own families to think of, our jobs, our careers. Can we still do the things he did? Heal people? Indeed we can.

We need not go out of our way to meet people. We come across them naturally in the course of the day. We can help make them whole by showing them respect, seeing them as the human beings they are, not as objects. So many people feel as if they are just that in this world, objects, things. An opening for us?


“You will perform even greater things”. Was Jesus thinking of the enormous number of generations that would follow in his way? Of the power that would be generated if his followers put all their little talents together? It was not only Jesus’ world that needed redemption. So does ours. Working on it seems to be an impossible task. Still, we could take our clues from those people who in a few years’ time have changed the world into that vast place we know as the world wide web. They, too, started from very small beginnings. But hundreds of thousands of people interested in the possibilities of a computer network each added a little bit to the thing that was developing. An enormous multitude took up the idea, improved it, added their little bits of information, clues to problems, overcoming them. They changed our world. And why did they succeed? Because they believed it could be done.

Sr. Theresia Saers

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