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Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church, Linglestown, Pennsylvania, USA

 

July 22 - St. Mary Magdalene

Scripture

Early on the first day of the week , while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him. . . But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. They said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?" She said to them, "They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him." When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?" Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away." Jesus said to her, "Mary!" She turned and said to him in Hebrew, "Rabbouni!" (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, "Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, 'I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'" Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, "I have seen the Lord"; and she told them that he had said these things to her.

St. John 20.1-2, 11-18

Commentary

Mary Magdalene, called "the apostle to the Apostles" by Bernard of Clairvaux, carried the news of the resurrection to the Twelve. Whenever the gospels list the women who were with Jesus, Mary Magdalene is listed first (St. John 19.25 is the sole exception), perhaps because she was the first to see the risen Jesus. St. Luke 8.2 reports that Jesus had cured her of possession by seven demons. Although often identified with the repentant "woman of the city" who anointed Jesus' feet, there is no biblical basis for this; nor is she to be identified with Mary of Bethany (a common ID in the Western Church since the sixth century).

According to the gospels, Mary of Magdala is the primary witness to the fundamental facts of the Christian proclamation: she saw the death of Jesus, she saw his burial, she saw his first resurrection appearance. Her commemoration on July 22 is observed by both the Western and Eastern expressions of the Church, and has become one of the most widely commemorated women in all of Christendom.

-- from Festivals and Commemorations by Phillip Pffateicher

A Reading

"Jesus says to her, 'Mary!' Jesus is not recognized when he calls her 'woman'; so He calls her by name, as though He were saying: Recognize me as I recognize you; for I do not know you as I know others; I know you as yourself. And so Mary, once addressed by name, recognizes who is speaking. She immediately calls Him rabbouni, that is to say, teacher, because the One whom she sought outwardly was the One who inwardly taught her to keep on searching."

-- from a sermon on the Gospels by Gregory the Great, Bishop of Rome, 604

Prayer

Almighty God, your Son Jesus Christ restored Mary Magdalene to health of body and mind, and called her to be a witness of His resurrection. Heal us now in body and mind, and call us to serve you in the power of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. AMEN

-- Pastor Stickley