Mary Magdalene and Christ
Her tears wiped away by her hair represent the centre of man’s and woman’s relationship to Christ.
Mary Magdalene wept profusely with Jesus and wiped her tears away from His feet before anointing them publicly with ointments and perfume.
Why did she cry so bountifully and in the presence of His disciples? For her own sins yes as Jesus so told his disciples such was her overt contrition. She almost wanted to make known her sin widely to not deceive others.
May we penetrate deeper in to this holy interaction? Jesus was clearly struck by Mary’s openness about her chequered past and she was moved to great piety herself by His teaching and reputation which led her to His company and her sorrow.
At the centre is His forthcoming crucifixion which is signified by her weeping so conscious she is of her shortcomings and on a deeper level the sin of those all around Jesus Christ close and far. Does she know then He will die and suffer due to his betrayal by Iscariot and thus redeem mankind? Not consciously but yes subconsciously she does realise this connection. Tears are profoundly important – not to be ignored and close to the subconscious – important to all men and women. Roman Catholicism underlines the importance of the subconscious beneath expressed emotion, thought and actions. This Biblical tearful scene demonstrates the subconscious at work distinctly.
Christ’s Agony in the garden of Gethsemane is clearly being “foretold” subconsciously by this interchange between Himself and Mary Magdalene who desires nothing for herself. Even Jesus could not tell His exact fate. Christ prayed the Cup would pass Him by in the garden I refer to and in a deeply mystical sense Mary Magdalene was imploring God the Father to spare Jesus His son His ordeal by her streaming distress. We only come close to sorrow for our sins and to Jesus Himself by our emotional and spiritual breaking down in to submission and thus allegiance to Our Father in Heaven. The Father and Son are one yet divided Persons: - the First and Second Persons of the Trinity with the Holy Spirit the Third Person. Mary knew in her heart of hearts in this weeping scene Jesus would suffer on the Cross and die for herself and others. She was not ashamed to admit this in her heart. She was deeply aware of this greatest sacrifice of all time to come in her Soul’s depths. Her tears were born of her sympathy for the plight of Christ Himself as a man.
She was really with Jesus and she was His great supporter with His Mother. She had played the world of sexual favours. Did she apply her affectionate way on Jesus? Yes she did in all likelihood, but she was truly pure in her submission to Him by her weeping over his feet and anointing them. The disciples rightly and sincerely picked up on that rapport and ambience and remonstrated with their Jesus for having anything to do with this feminine improper touch and caressing as they saw it. But Christ took the lead and forgave Magdalene for her past from the bottom of His Soul on account of her utter obedience to His Father and empathy with His suffering in his present life. This following of Jesus by Mary Magdalene was even before He got to that garden of Anguish on the eve of His betrayal, capture and arrest – still some time ahead. She was farsighted. We all need soul mates and Magdalene was such a friend to Jesus. He did not call her – she went up to Him. Precisely because she had been intimate with men she could understand how they ticked. She was not afraid of men, nor Jesus Himself. Jesus was like any other man – but still True Man and True God. His divinity was greatly enhanced by His humanity and vice versa.
Mary Magdalene could only have a blurred vision of His divinity yet she was the one living person masculine or feminine who got closest to Jesus Humanity, physically and emotionally on earth pre-Resurrection save for Jesus Christ’s own Mother herself another Mary. Mary Magdalene and Mary, the Mother of God were undoubtedly very close themselves pre-crucifixion and post-crucifixion. They both had different angles on Jesus but Mary the Mother of God would have taken note with satisfaction how positively Her Son related to Mary Magdalene’s contrition. They were drawn to each other by the magnetic grace they could feel in Jesus – the central person in their lives: Mary Mother of God and Magdalene so dutiful in her way too.
Jesus was the Great Teacher by word of mouth on earth until He ascended to Heaven. Then He becomes the instrument of salvation through the church and her sacraments, particularly Holy Communion where does Magdalene fit in? A saint, yes, by widespread devotion from time immemorial. What is her abiding message? Do not shun true and proper affection in any form verbal or touching. In the modern age touch is almost infra dig. I am more concerned with true conversation and dialogue which bears the fruit of openness and communication. No one can doubt Mary Magdalene’s sincerity – she bequeaths a legacy of utter devotion to Christ which is at the heart of true Christianity. If you lack affection and loyalty to your fellow men and women you will never be prepared to pursue your cause however worthy it may be. Without your cause you are at the mercy of marauders even the devil himself. Thanks to Mary Magdalene we have the comfort of the company of women and their succour to us men. Let men and women unite in the sacred endeavour of achieving the life eternal for all souls through Christ our Lord. Amen.