April 2012: St. Mary Magdalene

As we reflect upon the crucifixion and Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, can you imagine the unimaginable sorrow experienced by Jesus’ disciples on Good Friday, and what it must have felt like to be the first person to find the risen Christ on Easter Sunday? St. Mary Magdalene was with Jesus during his darkest hour as well as his most glorious triumph, which is why she is considered to be the apostle to the apostles.

The Gospel of Matthew, Mark and John tell us that Mary was among those with Jesus during the crucifixion, and according to the Gospel of John, Mary Magdalene returned to the tomb where Jesus was buried after the stone had been moved away and the tomb was found empty. After Mary finds Jesus in the garden, he speaks her name and she instantly recognizes him as Jesus, and he then instructs her to tell the other disciples that he has risen from the dead.

Over the centuries the Church’s view of Mary Magdalene has changed. As one of several women named Mary in the New Testament, Mary Magdalene frequently used to be portrayed as a sinful but repentant woman in religious art; perhaps the same woman who washed Jesus’ feet with her own tears in the Scriptures. In modern times theologians have moved away from this portrayal of Mary Magdalene, and she is remembered for being one of Jesus’ most devout disciples during his time here on earth.