Saint Martha Novena
Mommy Mantra July 22, 2014: Micah 7: 14-15, 18-20, John 20: 1-2, 11-18
Today we celebrate Mary Magdalene. Many use this Gospel to point out that this is a story of Mary Magdalene’s growing and transforming faith. They point out that she went to the tomb in the earliest of morning hours while it was still dark, saying the symbolism of the early darkness is Mary’s unbelief, further saying that her running away from the tomb was her running from her growing faith, only to have that faith pull her back to seeking for Jesus, finding him she grips onto him hard not wanting to let him go.
Now, I don’t see the Gospel in the same way. Mary Magdalene traveled with Jesus, she is mentioned by name 12 times, more than many disciples, and she is the one who stands at the cross as Jesus dies. This is not the action of a shrinking violet of faith.
In the Gospel of Mark 16, Mary goes to the tomb with three others; they find the tomb empty but they do not run away. They confront an angel in the tomb and ask after Jesus.
Gospel of Matthew 28 also has the women, this time two, coming to find Jesus gone and have an encounter with an angel who comes to them in an earthquake. Again both women stay to hear what the angel has said and goes to tell the men the good news.
Gospel of Luke 24 has two other women joining Mary on her way to visit the tomb. They also encounter an angel, receive the good news and tell it to the disciples. They are perplexed, but no where do they seem to be afraid of the angel or to hear the news.
In two of the Gospels she does not running away, but standing there, perhaps confused, amazed, afraid, but she is till there. In the one other Gospel where she does run she doesn’t go far and her reaction is because suddenly she is face to face with an angel who comes in an earthquake and is so dazzling that he looks like lightning, I’d run too!
It’s very interesting John’s take. His Gospel is said to be written from the perspective of an eye witness account, so is his Gospel closer to what really happened and the others interpret the events according to their audience and their understanding, or need to understand, the message of Christ? I don’t like seeing Mary Magdalene as weak, fearful. She is the one that Jesus casts out the seven demons. She is usually thought of as the second-most important woman in the New Testament after Mary, the mother of Jesus. It is interesting that in Aramaic, “Magdala” means “tower” or “elevated, great, magnificent, because she alone is the first to see Jesus at the Resurrection.
To me her association with Jesus gives her confidence and strength. She is a woman so transformed by her experience of and association with Jesus that her life is never the same.
Today let’s pray for each others transformation.