In the Bible, Mary of Magdala, Mary Magdalene is mentioned more times than most of the apostles.
Maurice Casey, author of Jesus of Nazareth, speculated that Mary suffered from severe emotional or psychological trauma that required an exorcism. Possessed by demons, Mary was battered and bruised, injured and in agony, lost all control and dignity.
Jesus recognized Mary, saw her desperation, and ordered the demons to leave her. Mary’s freedom led her to a lifelong gratitude, as she became one of Jesus’ many followers.
There’s a legendary story about Mary but there were so many with that name in that time and place it’s unclear if it was actually Mary Magdalene who performed this act of kindness. Luke wrote in his gospel:
“A woman in that town (Bethany) who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.”
Just as there is no reference clearly identifying Mary Magdalene as the woman who wiped Jesus’ feet, there is no specific mention that she was the repentant sinner who was once a prostitute.
Also from the Gospel according to Luke:
“After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; Joanna the wife of Chuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means.”
The four Gospel accounts record the presence of women at the foot of the cross where Jesus was crucified. Mark, Matthew, and john wrote Mary Magdalene was among them. She remained after Jesus died and followed along to witness the burial.
From John’s gospel:
“Mary sat with her tears long enough to peer into the tomb and see something the men hadn’t seen. Angels. They asked her why she was crying. She gave the most telling answer: ‘They have taken away my Lord.’
“… she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. He asked her, ‘Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?’ Thinking he was the gardener, she said, ‘Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Mary.’ She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, ‘Rabboni!’ (which means ‘Teacher’). Jesus said, ‘Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’’
Pop singer Helen Reddy, best known for her feminist anthem “I Am Woman” died this week at the age of 78.
The title track of Reddy’s 1971 debut album “I Don’t Know How to Love Him” was a song written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice for the rock opera “Jesus Christ Superstar,” sung in the musical by the character who played Mary Magdalene.
Mary Magdalene is considered a saint by the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, and Lutheran churches. Her feast day is July 22.