Dear Fathers, Friends in Christ,
Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early in the morning, while it was still dark. (John 20:1)
Few women in Scripture have been the subject of as much speculation and scrutiny as Mary Magdalene, whose feast we celebrate today. Yet despite all this attention, popular culture still confuses her with the penitent “sinful woman” in Luke 7:36-50. But rather than being remembered for repentance, contrition, and sinfulness, Mary should stand out in our minds as a model of faithfulness.
Mary had good reason to be faithful to Jesus. He had driven seven demons out of her (Luke 8:1-2). This was most likely the beginning of her journey with him, and it set her on a path of discipleship, a path that led her to become one of the foremost women who followed him. As one of a group of women who supported Jesus financially, Mary was no mere camp follower. She believed enough in him that she was willing to back it up with her money and to leave behind a comfortable life in order to walk with the Master.
Imagine the miracles Mary must have witnessed and the excitement she must have felt on this journey! But it wasn’t all signs and wonders. It was a difficult path as well, a path that led her to the foot of the cross, where she watched Jesus die an agonizing death. Mourning and confused, Mary must have felt like a ship adrift. “What now?” she must have asked.
Here is where we see Mary’s faithfulness and love most clearly. Rejecting the urge to flee and to distance herself from Jesus’ disciples, she was one of just a few people to stay with him as he was buried. She was one of the three women who risked arrest just to anoint his body. And in the end, her loyalty was rewarded: she was the first person in history to see the risen Lord!
What an honor! Rightly does Mary deserve the title “Apostle to the Apostles.” One of the greatest women in the Bible, her story is an example of the closeness with God that rewards a grateful, faithful heart that pursues him ardently.
“Lord, thank you for the example of Mary Magdalene and her life. Help me to emulate her love and devotion.”
Father Ed Bakker
Anglican Catholic Church / Original Province
Mission of Saint Aidan of Lindisfarne