St Mary Magdalene – 22 July
We have very little solid information about Saint Mary, and both scholars and traditions differ on the interpretation of what we do know.
She was a friend and follower of Jesus. Filled with sorrow over her sin, she anointed Christ, washed his feet with her hair. He exorcised seven demons from her. She was visited by the Risen Christ.
There are also arguments about her life after the Crucifixion.
- The Greek Church maintains that she retired to Ephesus with the Blessed Virgin Mary and lived there the rest of her life.
- A French tradition says that Mary, Lazarus, and some companions came to Marseilles, France, evangelized and converted the whole Provence region, and then retired to live 30 years as a penitent hermitess at La Sainte-Baume.
Oh, some things we do know for certain – Mary wasn’t Jesus’ wife or mistress, she wasn’t the mother of His child, she didn’t found a royal dynasty or separate branch of Christianity, et cetera, et cetera, ad nauseam.
When Mary Magdalen came to the tomb and did not find the Lord’s body, she thought it had been taken away and so informed the disciples. After they came and saw the tomb, they too believed what Mary had told them. The text then says: “The disciples went back home,” and it adds: “but Mary wept and remained standing outside the tomb.” We should reflect on Mary’s attitude and the great love she felt for Christ; for though the disciples had left the tomb, she remained. She was still seeking the one she had not found, and while she sought she wept; burning with the fire of love, she longed for him who she thought had been taken away. And so it happened that the woman who stayed behind to seek Christ was the only one to see him. For perseverance is essential to any good deed, as the voice of truth tell us: “Whoever perseveres to the end will be saved.” – from a homily by Pope Saint Gregory the Great