July 22, 2023
Our knowledge of St. Mary Magdalene, one of Christ’s most devoted followers, is based entirely on the Gospels, which portray her as a disciple of Jesus and as one of the women who followed and ministered to Him in Galilee (Luke 8:1-2). She was from Magdala, a small town on the northern edge of the Sea of Galilee. According to tradition, she may have been a prostitute; what is known is that she began following Jesus after He had cast out seven devils from her (this might indicate actual demonic possession, or perhaps refer to severe mental or psychological illness).
After her conversion, Mary Magdalene became a devoted follower of Christ. It is believed that she was the woman who anointed the Lord’s feet with costly perfume prior to His passion and death (John 12:1-8), and was present at His crucifixion. On Easter Sunday morning Mary Magdalene and two others discovered the Lord’s tomb to be empty. St. Mark’s Gospel states that it was to her that the risen Christ appeared (16:9), and St. John adds that she was given a message to deliver to the Apostles (20:11-18). Mary was not believed at first, but her persistence prompted Peter and another disciple to investigate for themselves, thus discovering the truth of the Resurrection.
image: Bartolomeo Vivarini, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons