First Witness of the Resurrection (First Century)
+ Mary of Magdala features prominently in each of the gospels and she is most especially celebrated for her fidelity to Jesus during his Passion.
+ The Gospel of John highlights her importance when it describes her as going to Jesus’ tomb alone and discovering that the body of the Lord is missing. In tears, she says to the angels at the tomb, “They have taken my Lord away sand I do not know where have put him” (20:1-18). Moments later, Jesus appeared to her, making her the first witness of the Resurrection.
+ Various legends grew up around Mary Magdalene, including the unfounded assumption that she was a reformed prostitute. Today she is honored as a patron saint of contemplative nuns.
+ In 2016 Pope Francis elevated the liturgical celebration of Saint Mary Magdalene to the rank of “Feast,” making her liturgical celebration equal to that of the other Apostles.
For prayer and reflection
“It is likely to be a long time… before the identification of Mary Magdalen (sic) as a reformed prostitute disappears from art, hagiography, and popular consciousness… It would be altogether more in keeping with her privileged position accorded her by all the Gospel writers to stress her role as the bringer of the good news, the herald of Christ’s resurrection, a symbol of hope.” –Butler’s Lives of the Saints
O God, whose Only Begotten Son
entrusted Mary Magdalene before all others
with announcing the great joy of the Resurrection,
grant, we pray,
that through her intercession and example
we may proclaim the living Christ
and come to see him reigning in your glory.
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal)