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Saints of the Month
Mary Magdalene

Fake news is not new. Perhaps one old example is the assertion that Mary Magdalene was a prostitute. Back in the 6th Century, Pope Gregory is said to have confused her with two other women in the Bible. Medieval Bible scholars also attempted to name an unidentified sinful woman who had washed and anointed the feet of Jesus. As Mary Magdalene is mentioned in the next chapter they regarded her as the same person! After this, many classical artists painted Mary in various states of undress, perpetuating a falsehood. 

So what do we really know about Mary? The Gospels tell us that she came from Magdala, a town in Galilee, and Jesus healed her by casting out seven evil spirits. After this she followed Jesus, with other women, on His ministry providing resources. Later, Mary watched Jesus die on the cross, and having cared for His needs while He was alive, wanted to care for Him after His death. It was when Mary went to anoint the body of Jesus at the tomb that the risen Jesus appeared to her. He told Mary to go to His disciples and tell them about His return to Heaven. She was obedient and became the first emissary of the resurrection. In those days, the witness of a woman was worthless.   

 Despite ridicule, Mary had the courage to speak about Jesus in a place of great disbelief. We have to ask ourselves do we have the same courage as Mary? How prepared are we to stand our ground to share Jesus with others in the face of those who mock and scoff at us?

    

Although we usually associate Mary with the Easter story, this month on 22nd July, the Church celebrates her Feast Day. In this snapshot of Mary’s life we know she had experienced great distress and suffering. After Jesus healed her, Mary expressed her gratitude by being utterly committed and devoted to Him. 

Jesus can give everyone a new start; a new purpose and direction in life. Like Mary we can thank Him for blessing us, loving us and forgiving us and moving into practical forms of service. Only Jesus can transform our lives so that we can glorify God in all that we do.