Feast of St. Mary of Magdala, the Year 2020

In the Gospel according to John 20:17-18, we read:

Jesus said to her, 

“Do not hold onto me because 

I have not yet ascended to the Father.  

But go to my brothers and say to them, 

‘I am ascending 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 she told them that the Lord had said these things to her.

According to a fragmentary manuscript of the non-canonical Gospel of Mary, written in the late first or early second century, Mary comforts the distressed disciples telling them, “For his grace will be with you all and shelter you.”  Peter asks Mary, “Tell us the words of the Savior that you know, but which we haven’t heard.” Mary agrees saying, “I will re[port to you as much as] I remember that you don’t know.”  After telling them what she remembered, she fell silent.

However, Andrew says that he doesn’t believe Mary “be[cause] these opinions seem to be so different from h[is th]ought.”  Peter joins in, “Has the Sa[vior] spoken secretly to a wo[m]an and [not] openly so that [we] would all hear?  [Surely] he did [not wish to indicate] that [she] is more worthy than we are?”

Levi confronts Peter’s competitive, argumentative behavior.  In Mary’s defense Levi says, “If the Savior considered her to be worthy, who are you to disregard her?  For he knew her completely [and] loved her devotedly.”  We still have both Peter’s and Levi’s attitudes in the Church today.

Although Mary of Magdala is mentioned by name in all four canonical gospels as being present at the tomb of Jesus, and she is named as the first to see the Resurrected Christ Jesus, even given the name, Apostle to the Apostles, attempts have been made throughout the centuries to silence Mary Magdalene, to discredit her, and to excuse her experience, all because she was a woman.

We women today are still being silenced, discredited, and pushed aside, just because we are women.  St. Mary of Magdala, pray for us.  

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