22 Jul 2016

July 22nd - Feast day of St Mary Magdalene

Happy Feast of St. Mary Magdalene, the Apostle to the Apostles! The saints liturgical observance was up graded this year to status of a feast by Pope Francis.
Fr James Martin SJ reminds us of a few important things about Mary:

First, she was the first one, according to the Gospel of John, to whom the Risen Christ appeared after the Resurrection. He could have chosen anyone to whom to appear, and he chose Mary. She is then asked to announce the good news to the disciples, thus her great title "Apostle to the Apostles,..." the one who is sent to the one who is sent. 

Second, she was not a prostitute. This unfortunate tradition comes from, among other sources, a homily from Pope St. Gregory the Great in which he conflated Mary with a prostitute in the Gospels. This is false. Jesus "drove seven demons from her" (which certainly prompted her gratitude and may have led her to follow him) but she was not a prostitute. (Interestingly, when you visit the Holy Land you see that the first town that you come upon on the Sea of Galilee when you travel from Nazareth to the Sea of Galilee, is Magdala. She may have been one of the first he met in that area.)

Third, between the time that the Risen Christ appeared to Mary after the Resurrection and when she announced the Good News to the rest of the disciples, she was the church on earth. That is, only she, among all mortals, understood the full Paschal Mystery. 

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