This Saturday we celebrate the Feast of St. Mary of Magdala – the first witness to the Resurrection, Apostle to the Apostles, and one of the patrons of the Order of Preachers.
Unfortunately, this preacher and faithful Christ-follower is one of the most misunderstood women in Christian history. For centuries, Mary of Magdala has all too often been seen as repentant prostitute and public sinner – an image reinforced by artistic representations of her. Books and movies like The Da Vinci Code which present her as Jesus’ wife add to the confusion.
So who is the real Mary of Magdala?
The Gospels describe her as accompanying Jesus during his ministry in Galilee and supporting the mission from her means. She is at the foot of the cross during the crucifixion - in contrast to Jesus’ male follower who fled or hid. She is among the myrrh-bearing women who go to Jesus’ tomb early on Easter morning – and there she has a powerful encounter with the Risen Christ. She is sent by Jesus to announce the Good News to the other followers.
This is a portrait of a committed, faithful, courageous, prayerful woman.
Who are the committed, faithful, courageous, prayerful women in your life who inspire you?