Mary Magdalene was the first person to meet the Resurrected Christ and so has the honourable title of Apostle to the Apostles. Despite being marginalised and slandered by the Church throughout the years she remains one of the most important people of all time and a key person for the Christian faith.
Mary was one of the many women who accompanied Jesus in his ministry and two of the Gospels claim that Jesus exorcised her for several daemons. Unlike any of the male Disciples, she was present at both the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. Her testimony as a woman would not have been believed at the time, and this is shown through the Disciples’ need to see the resurrected Christ for themselves before they would believe. There is a strong case to be made that in appearing to her first Jesus was choosing Mary as the replacement of Judas in the Twelve, but again due to sexist views held at the time she was over looked.
The male bias of Mary’s day has continued to push her down throughout the centuries. Despite being a key figure in the Resurrection narrative she does not appear in any other Biblical book. Due to this lack of Biblical information and her massive importance, Mary has been subject to speculation over the centuries. Most famously she has been painted as a repentant prostitute. There is no evidence whatsoever of her ever being a prostitute, but despite this, the Western Church has focused upon her former life as a prostitute overlooking the repentant aspect and so played down her position. As a result, she has been marginalised, vilified and over looked. Recent scholarship has tried to uncover the “real” Mary and rebuild her character, placing her back where she belongs as a key witness to the Christian faith.
It cannot be over stated how massively important it was that God chose Mary to appear to first. In doing this Jesus was continuing His practice of building women up against the Patriarchal structure of His society. Jesus appearing to Mary was the first sign of the newly established Kingdom of God, a sign that shows that women are equal to men, that the lowliest are worth Gods attention and that God wants women to be a part of His work. If only the Church had paid attention.
A Prayer for Mary Magdalene:
Lord God we thank you for your most holy servant, Mary Magdalene. We praise you for your inclusive and affirming ministry to women and pray that we might emulate that ministry in our daily lives. We repent of any times when we have vilified people unjustly and got caught up in character assassination. We pray also for all women who find themselves marginalised by their societies. Help us to hold on to you through the darkest times and witness to your Resurrection as firmly as your Apostle Mary did. Through your most Holy Name we pray. Amen
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