Friday, July 22, 2005
Be fair to Mary Magdalene
In my homily today, I pointed out that Mary Magdalene might not have been the "sinner" she has been depicted as being.
Pope Gregory the Great it was, if memory serves me, who linked her with the "sinful woman" who anoints the Lord's feet in the house of Simon the Pharisee. That may be valid, or not; but nothing in Scripture explicitly points that way (unless someone says different, in which case, I'd love to hear from you). All Scripture says of her "past" is that she had seven demons cast out of her.
I don't mind defending Pope St. Gregory's prerogatives in interpretation, and that's all that is at stake; but we take it on the chin from the Wicca-Goddess-Feminist crowd about "defaming" Mary Magdalene.
Actually, the whole line of reasoning emanating from that particular fever-swamp is, well . . . let's just say, calling it "reasoning" it beyond generous, and leave it at that.
I just think it's worth pointing out we really don't have anything invested in this particular claim about Mary; if St. Gregory was mistaken, it does not undermine his sanctity or his credibility, or that of the Church; contrariwise, if she did have "a past," it does not reflect badly on her at all.
What today's Gospel does show us is worth more attention: how much she loved the Lord. Several times she is asked, "woman, why do you weep?" It seems to me she weeps because she feels the absence of the Lord -- and would that each of us had such intimacy with him!
Note: I failed to credit the lovely image above, in the mistaken belief that clicking on it would take the viewer directly to the webpage from which I borrowed it. Well, I discovered that is incorrect (as, doubtless, many experienced bloggers already knew); so I apologize for failing to credit the picture to:
Stained Glass Photography