St Mary Magdalene
One of the best known people of the Bible after Jesus is properly Mary Magdalene because of the fictionist stories that have been written about her.
In books like The Da Vinci Code which is pure fiction and should never have been printed because of the way it talks about Jesus and other people in the Bible.
In the past authors of books like the Da Vinci Code would have been burnt at the stake for blaspheming, but in today’s liberal world they are aloud to get away with it, and they can even make films based on books like it.
It true Hollywood style they are now looking at making a sequel to the Da Vinci Code, and filming part of it in a church in Rome, but the Pope has step in and said they must not film inside or outside any Catholic Church building.
But who is Mary Magdalene, who has a number of churches name after her and whose feast day we cerebrate this coming Tuesday, for the answer to that we have to turn to the Bible.
Mary Magdalene simply means Mary of Magdale and indicates the place from which she came from.
Magdale was a small town which did not have a too savoury reputation, on the Sea of Galilee not far from Capernaum,
In Mark and Luke’s Gospel, Mary Magdalene is described as one of whom Jesus cast out seven demons, which seams to indicate that she had been completely possessed by the devil.
Christian tradition has been somewhat too ready to assume that she had also been a woman of immoral character and possibly a prostitute.
This may have been the case, though there is really no reason to identifying her with this role, as is often done with the woman who was a sinner in Luke’s Gospel who washed the feet of Jesus with her tears.
Mary had undoubtedly one thing in common with that unnamed woman, as like her she loved much and had been forgiven much by Jesus.
Jesus had done much for these women so it is no wonder that they loved Him and they showed this love by service to Him and His Disciples.
Saint Luke’s Gospel tells us about a small company of devoted women whom accompanied Jesus and the Disciples in God’s work and that these women “provided for them out of their means”
Among them is mentioned “Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out”
Serving Jesus and the Disciples this way was Mary’s way of expressing gratitude to Jesus, as she believed that she had been saved by Him in order to serve Him.
Mary served Jesus right up to the end as she was there at the foot of the Cross as he dying.
It was properly her love for Jesus and what He had done for her that drew her there and kept her there.
It must have hurt her to witness the sufferings that Jesus went through on the Cross, but it seams that she could not leave Him.
Indeed it seams that Mary lingered there, together with one or two other women, after the Disciples had gone.
Perhaps the Disciples could not stand the sight of Jesus suffering any longer, and to them everything had now seamed to have come to an end, all what Jesus had said had now seamed to have come to nothing, all the Disciples hopes have now seamed to have gone.
At this point in time everything must have seamed finished, but Mary waited there, maybe her faith was stronger then the Disciples and she was waiting for Jesus to get down from the Cross.
She waited and watched till at last Jesus’ body was taken down from the Cross and she probably followed Him being taken to the tomb where He was laid.
John’s Gospel tells us that Mary went back to the tomb on the first day of the week and found that the stone in front of the tomb had been moved and that the tomb was now empty and goes on to tell us that it was to Mary Magdalene that Jesus first appeared.
“But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet.
They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.”
Saying this, she turned round and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus.
Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom do you seek?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.”
Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rab-boni!” (which means Teacher).
Jesus said to her, “Do not hold me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brethren and say to them, I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.”
Later Mary would indeed be able to hold Jesus, not in her arms but in her faith.
Mary Magdalene went and said to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; and she told them that he had said these things to her.
Mary Magdalene had been the first witness of the Resurrection and the first person to go and tell someone that Jesus Christ had indeed risen, but she was not chosen to fill the place among the Disciples that had been left my Judas Iscariot.
Which I believe must prove that if the Church was meant to have women Bishops, Mary Magdalene would have been the first by filling the place left by Judas.
After the resurrection we hear no more of Mary Magdalene, but she was doubtless among the women mentioned in Acts who with the Disciples waited for the coming of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost and who in due course were all filled with the Holy Spirit.
Mary Magdalene should be remembered for her devotion and that she was the first person to see the Resurrected Jesus.