On this Sunday each year, we mark Mary Magdalene’s Feast Day. We do this because she was undoubtedly a leader in the early church, the apostle to the apostles, sent out by Jesus to announce the resurrection, and one of the few women we take note of in our annual cycle of ‘saints’.
We know very little about Mary Magdalene and her life, except that she was not, as she is so often remembered, a redeemed prostitute. There are so many Mary’s in the Gospels, and so often they are confused, or melded into one ‘Mary’. We do know that the Magdalene, as she is often called, was present with Christ during his public ministry, death and resurrection. She is mentioned at least a dozen times in the Gospels, and they all agree that Jesus cast seven demons out of her when he met her. We are not sure today what these ‘seven demons’ were, and perhaps all it tells us is that she was a troubled woman, who had probably suffered and who had been miraculously healed by Jesus, and released from the things that bound her. Her name tells us that she was from the fishing town of Magdala, a fishing port on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee. The Gospels also infer that she was one of many women who travelled with Jesus and who supported him and his ministry out of their own financial resources.
There are remarkably few women who are classed as major Saints, so Mary Magdalene is worth remembering and celebrating each year. Although the sources are largely silent about what happened to her, and although there are many misconceptions and myths about her, we can learn much today about her faithfulness and love. She travelled with Jesus, witnessed his ministry and miracles including in her own life, stayed at the cross in his darkest hour when everyone else had fled, and was the first to announce the news of the resurrection. We will mark her faithfulness and leadership today.
In peace, Mother Lynda