Meghan Clark writes:
Readers of Scripture first meet Mary Magdalene during Jesus’ preaching and healing ministry in Galilee as someone healed “from whom seven demons had gone out” (Luke 8:2). Later all the gospels mention her in the litany of women who traveled with Jesus to Jerusalem. All four gospels name her as a witness to both the crucifixion and the empty tomb. In John’s gospel Mary Magdalene is the first person to meet the resurrected Jesus and is thus charged with telling the others. For this she is given the title “Apostle to the Apostles.”
In a world where women were not considered reliable witnesses, it is women upon whom our knowledge of the death and resurrection of Jesus relies. The women of the gospels, especially Magdalene, have long been maligned, minimized, or simply missing from the way we envision Jesus’ followers….
“Indeed,” says Pope Francis in his new exhortation on holiness, “in times when women tended to be most ignored or overlooked, the Holy Spirit raised up saints whose attractiveness produced new spiritual vigor and important reforms in the church. . . . But I think too of all those unknown or forgotten women who, each in her own way, sustained and transformed families and communities by the power of their witness.” Beginning with Magdalene and continuing through Christian history, women persist, but their contributions are often ignored. As I walked the way of the cross in their footsteps, I prayed in gratitude. Their fidelity and witness continue to teach us what it means to be a pilgrim church called to follow God. Even today, as she walks with us in faith, she persists.