Monday, July 23, 2012

St. Mary Magdalene

Dear Friar,

Thanks for "Saint of the Day."

In your review of Mary Magdalene's life, I disagree with your use of the word "slandered."

It would be better, I think, to refer to Mary Magdelene as "perhaps misrepresented," or "probably misrepresented" - not slandered.

In any event, the pejorative connotation attached to "slandered" seems inappropriate - if not slanderous - when applied to the woman who loved Jesus so much that she poured perfume upon him, then dried his feet with her hair.  

Imagine that.


Imagine that. 

Jesus tells us that the prostitutes (and traitorous tax collectors) "will enter heaven ahead of the priests."

Love dwells at the heart of the Christian revelation and, however love may manifest, "it covers a multitude of sins." 

Love does not pretend the sins are not there.

Rather, "love has got them covered."

It has been said  that "heaven is full of reformed sinners," an observation that (at least) suggests that it may be more blessed to be a reformed sinner than a "goody two shoes" who never departed "the safe shore," who never swam "out to sea," who never got in over "his" head. 

Jesus' parables continually contradict our common sense view of justice. Typically, they represent "late comers" and "prodigals" as cause for greater celebration than those who "got it right" from the beginning.

Sometimes, I even wonder about the role of "goody two shoes" within the church. (Surely they have a place, but I'm not sure The Logos intends their presumed righteousness to "lead the pack.")

In Luke we read: 

"Once again Jesus went out beside the lake. A large crowd came to him, and he began to teach them. As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” Jesus told him, and Levi got up and followed him. While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Or as Matthew tells the story: 

"When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”"

He wants mercy, not sacrifice.

Dare we even look at that?

Pax vobiscum


On Sun, Jul 22, 2012 at 6:01 AM, Franciscan Media <> wrote:

Sunday, July 22, 2012
St. Mary Magdalene
Listen to Saint of the Day
Except for the mother of Jesus, few women are more honored in the Bible than Mary Magdalene. Yet she could well be the patron of the slandered, since there has been a persistent legend in the Church that she is the unnamed sinful woman who anointed the feet of Jesus in Luke 7:36-50.Most Scripture scholars today point out that there is no scriptural basis for confusing the two women. Mary Magdalene, that is, “of Magdala,” was the one from whom Christ cast out “seven demons” (Luke 8:2)—an indication, at the worst, of extreme demonic possession or, possibly, severe illness.
Father W.J. Harrington, O.P., writing in the New Catholic Commentary, says that “seven demons” “does not mean that Mary had lived an immoral life—a conclusion reached only by means of a mistaken identification with the anonymous woman of Luke 7:36.” Father Edward Mally, S.J., writing in the Jerome Biblical Commentary, agrees that she “is not...the same as the sinner of Luke 7:37, despite the later Western romantic tradition about her.”
Mary Magdalene was one of the many “who were assisting them [Jesus and the Twelve] out of their means.” She was one of those who stood by the cross of Jesus with his mother. And, of all the “official” witnesses that might have been chosen for the first awareness of the Resurrection, she was the one to whom that privilege was given. She is known as the "Apostle to the Apostles."
Mary Magdalene has been a victim of mistaken identity for almost 20 centuries. Yet she would no doubt insist that it makes no difference. We are all sinners in need of the saving power of God, whether our sins have been lurid or not. More importantly, we are all, with her, “unofficial” witnesses of the Resurrection.
(This entry appears in the print edition of Saint of the Day.)
If you are having difficulty listening to Saint of the Day audio, or need help setting up an audio player, go to our Audio Help page for more information.
28 W. Liberty Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202
Copyright© 1996-2012 Franciscan Media. All rights reserved.

No comments:

Post a Comment