Feast of Mary Magdalene

The Church today celebrates Mary Magdalene, faithful friend and follower of Jesus.  Today's Gospel passage is one that has born much fruit for me over the years, ever since I "re-discovered" Mary Magdalene for the model of faith and love she truly is.
Mary stayed outside the tomb weeping. ... she turned around and saw Jesus there, but did not know it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” She thought it was the gardener and said to him, “Sir, if you carried him away, tell me where you laid him, and I will take him.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni,” which means Teacher. Jesus said to her, “Stop holding on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am going to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord,” and then reported what he told her. (John 20)
Mary's simple response to the Risen Christ - "Rabbouni" - comes back to me often in prayer. She is the "apostle to the apostles." Not only was she the first to encounter the resurrected Jesus, she then immediately went to spread the good news. Of course, as other gospel stories tell us, her news was not necessarily believed. But that's for another post.

I noted above that I "re-discovered" Mary Magadalene. Sadly, tradition and misunderstanding have led many to continue the misconceptions about Mary as a fallen women, prostitute, etc... (even though such conclusions are not born out by Scripture and even if true would not discredit her in any case). I could hazard a guess or two as to where the smear campaign against Mary Magdalene came from, but for now let's just say that the story of this strong woman of faith might have intimated some of those in power.  But again, that is for another post.

What we do know is that she was healed by Jesus, travelled with and followed Jesus, and was faithfully there at the foot of the cross and at his rising.  I too have been healed by Jesus in my own way.  I seek to travel with and follow Jesus as best I can.  I seek to witness to the suffering of our world and to hold fast to the hope of the resurrection.  Who better to have as a spiritual companion than Mary Magdalene?

Sadly, many folks have not yet "re-discovered" the real Mary Magdalene of Scripture and instead are still clouded by the fog of misconceptions.  Today, the feast of Mary Magdalene, is a good feast day for women -- women of the cross and women of the rising. Today is a good day as women to stand at the tomb with Mary and recognize the risen Christ as our teacher and friend.

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