Home Subscribe Archive  
 
June 27, 2012
Guido Reni/in the public domain

St. Mary Magdalene: Disciple of Jesus
by Friar Jim Van Vurst, O.F.M.

A True Disciple

Thanks to the Gospels, we know who Jesus’ disciples were. First and foremost, there was Mary, the Mother of Jesus. Vatican II expressly referred to her as the “perfect disciple of Jesus.” Jesus said, “Whoever does the will of my Father is my disciple.” Mary fulfilled that statement of Jesus perfectly. But after Mary, we have Magdalene, a woman some would call an unlikely disciple given the fact that the Gospel tells us “she was possessed by seven demons” (Lk 8:2). That statement does not presume that she was a sinner. That would be unjust to good people, including saints who can be besieged terribly by Satan.

Regardless, there was that moment when she came into Jesus’ presence, though the event is not described in the Gospel. What a moment that must have been! Remember, the number seven in Scripture is a symbol for fullness or completeness. We have seven Sacraments, seven cardinal virtues, etc. Regardless of what power Satan had over her, when Jesus met her, there was no contest. The demons were cast out, and Mary was free. One way to imagine the effect is that the fullness of Satan within her was replaced by the fullness of God’s grace.

Mary became one of the women whom the Gospel describes as followers of Jesus (Mt 8:1ff). We have to remember that this fact alone was a scandalous situation as far as the religious leaders were concerned. First of all, women lacked the status to be called a “disciple.” Only men could be disciples. But Jesus changed that and called them to be his followers. Also, there could have been sexual innuendos pressed forth by the religious leaders. Sometimes, today, you will hear novelists allude to affairs between Jesus and Mary Magdalene. We know there is no evidence for such a circumstance.

Mary was at Jesus' Death, Burial, and Resurrection

There are many words written about Mary Magdalene in the Gospel. Not only did she follow Jesus in his public life, but, as we know, she was with Mary, Jesus’ mother, through the passion, death, and burial of Jesus. The film The Passion of the Christ presents Magdalene’s presence very powerfully. She is described as being with Jesus’ mother at the foot of the cross (Jn 19:25). The apostles were nowhere to be seen. My own image of Mary is that of a strong woman with a love for Jesus—so strong that, if it could have happened, she would have gladly taken Jesus’ place on the cross.

Mary Magdalene is also the first one to see the empty tomb, having gone to care for the dead body of Jesus—surely a gruesome task. She is the first to touch Jesus after the Resurrection, and the one chosen by Jesus to announce the good news to the apostles who were huddled in the upper room.

There is something special about this marvelous woman, and the Gospel reminds us that, from the beginning of Jesus’ life and ministry, women played a most significant role. They have so much to contribute to the Church and to the people of God. They are a force for good that shouldn’t be neglected.

Friar Jack's Inbox
Readers respond to Friar Jack Wintz's June E-spiration, Musing: Reflections on the Joyful Mysteries

Dear Friar Jack: Thank you for these reflections on the Joyful Mysteries. I am going to print them and carry them with me as I say the rosary. I hope to see some of the other mysteries. God bless you! Victoria

Dear Friar Jack: The Joyful Mysteries were so beautifully commented on! Joan

Dear Friar Jack: What a wonderful reflection! I read your E-spiration several times. It just gets better and better. Thank you for being such a wonderful spreader of the word! Hank

Dear Victoria, Joan, and Hank: I appreciate hearing your kind remarks. It also makes me happy to know that so many like you find blessings and real meaning in praying the rosary. This will encourage me, in turn, when I return and give my reflections of the Luminous Mysteries. May God bless you for your thoughtful words! And may God bless all the readers of my E-spirations around the world. Friar Jack

Send your feedback to friarjack@franciscanmedia.org

[Alt-Text]

[~SocialMediaNoBorder~]

Check out all our fine free e-newsletters from Franciscan Media:
[~Physical_Mailing_Address~]
Copyright© 1996-2014 St. Anthony Messenger Press. All rights reserved.
[~SubPref~]Unsubscribe[~EndSubPref~]
 
 
 

Welcome!
I am Fr. Jim Van Vurst and hope you'll enjoy
all of the news and great features at AmericanCatholic.org as well as my own writing. By the way, I am a real Franciscan friar, as is my co-worker, Friar Jack.
You can find more about us here.
[Alt-Text]
[Alt-Text]
[Alt-Text]
[Alt-Text]
[Alt-Text]
[Alt-Text]
 
Friar Jack's E-spirations Saint of the Day Minute Meditations Catholic Greeting Premiere Faith Formation Update Catholic SAMPler Franciscan Media American Catholic Connections E-Newsletters Image Map