O7222020 – John 20. 1-2, 11-18

                    St. Mary Magdalene, Apostle

 

St. Mary Magdalene has “long been” a figure surrounded by “controversy,” “curiosity,” and “a bit of confusion” in the Christian church.

 

The controversies are “as alive” today as they were at any other time in the history of the church.

 

People simply want “the SCOOP” and “the POOP” on Mary Magdalene.  They want to know…

 

But I personally think – it is more the case, that today we are seeking “the truth” and not merely conjecture or tradition.

 

In recent years, Dan Brown’s bestselling novel The Da Vinci Code, portrayed her—AGAINST ALL EVIDENCE, KNOWLEDGE AND LOGIC—as being the “goddess-like wife” of a rather “boring” and “ho-hum Jesus.”

And some people and the media “ate this stuff up” …and believed it as “brute fact.”

 

Unfortunately, that RIDICULOUS claim is, for many people, the FIRST THING they think of when they hear her name.

 

Mary Magdalene, Hooker, Prostitute, 7 demons, Sinful woman, and wife of Jesus.

 

Mary Magdalene was “the hooker” who became “Holy” for “her Lord.”

 

All of which, I want you to know was completely rejected by Protestantism in the 16th century as being “BAD THEOLOGY.”   More of the church gone astray.

 

But no matter what was SAID or DONE…or WRITTEN, she has always been ONE of the most INTRIGUING and MYSTERIOUS figures in biblical history.

 

Was she, or wasn’t she?  The debate rages on…

 

This is what IS KNOWN:

 

The name MARY was by far the MOST COMMON NAME given to Jewish women in the first century of the Common Era.

 

There are “numerous women” named Mary in the Gospel and Biblical accounts.

 

Mary of Magdala or Mary Magdalene was a Jewish woman who traveled with Jesus as one of his followers and supporters.

 

Apparently, she was like CHIEF among the women followers because her name always appears first in the listing of the various women’s names.

 

Almost as if, she was the female rival of Peter, her leading the women followers, Peter leading the male disciples.

 

These women supported Jesus “out of their resources” suggesting that they were independently wealthy in a male dominated world.

 

Mary Magdalene is mentioned TWELVE TIMES in the canonical Gospel Accounts, many times more than most of the men…disciples, included.

 

Magdala (itself) was believed to be a small fishing village – located on the Western Shore of the Sea of Galilee. 

 

The inaccurate description or portrayal of her as a prostitute goes back to the year 591 based ONLY on a single sermon.  From that moment on…it was cast in stone.

 

Regardless of what you may read or have heard, there is ZERO Biblical evidence of any ROMANTIC relationship between her and Jesus.  There is nothing to suggest children – other than author’s imaginations.

 

Likewise, there is nothing to suggest that she was promiscuous or that she was “the unnamed woman” from whom Jesus cast out seven demons.

 

She is not Mary of Bethany.

She is not the sister of Lazarus, nor is she the sister of Martha.

 

She is Mary of Magdala.  She has her own identity and city of origen.

 

During the Middle Ages, all kinds of traditions and legends grew around her.  Mostly bizarre and totally unfounded.

 

She was a red head.  She was voluptuous.  She was seductive.  She was beautiful.  She was extremely wealthy. 

 

She was allegedly exiled from Jerusalem. She traveled all-the-way to the South of France.  None of those things are held as being true.

 

She was an early female mystic.  A seer.  A cave-dweller.

 

In 1969 the Roman Catholic church agreed with Protestantism in their assessment of Mary.  She was not WHO people said she WAS.  It was not a Biblically accurate description.

 

Unfortunately, not everyone, everywhere received the email, text or message!

 

So, the debate and writing continue on…

 

She was also the subject of non-canonical Gnostic writings of the second and third and maybe even fourth centuries. 

 

There is something about Mary.

And “inquiring minds” always want to know more…

 

May her memory, her love for Jesus and her belief and witness always be a blessing for the church.  Amen.