Tuesday, July 22, 2003

The first witness to the Resurrection: St. Mary Magdalen

Mary Magdalen was one of those people with "interesting" lives. She was one of Jesus' closest disciples, named among those who travelled with Him and ministered to His needs, and also named as having been delivered from seven demons [Mark 16:9]. She is also identified with "the woman who was a sinner" who crashed the party at the home of Simon the Pharasee [Luke 7:36 ff.]. She was present with Mary the mother of Jesus and with John the Beloved at the crucifixion, assisted in Jesus' burial, and at dawn following the Sabbath day, was the first witness to Jesus resurrected, becoming the chosen apostle to the Eleven. She was at the Ascension, the Scripture states that she traveled back to Jerusalem after that event with Jesus' mother and the Eleven and others. She can be safely presumed to have been present at Pentecost. After that, the Scriptures are silent, and the tradition diverges. Some, older, sources say she went to Ephesus with John the Beloved and Mary the mother of Jesus, had an adventure concerning the Emperor and a miraculous blood-red egg, and lived with Jesus' mother in contemplation to a quite old age. Other sources have her traveling with St. Lazarus of Bethany, his sisters, and others to France, where they evangelized Provence.

Whether she spent the rest of her life in Ephesus with Mary and John or in Provence with Lazarus and his sisters, her glory forever will be her faithfulness and her bold proclamation, "I have seen the Lord! He is not dead, but lives!"

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