Friday 22 July 2016

Bible Book:

"Mary, called Magdalene" (v. 2)

Luke 8:1-3 Friday 22 July 2016

Psalm; Psalm 63:1-8


Mary was a common name at the time of Jesus. There were severalMarys who played a part in the gospel story. It is not always easyto be sure which Mary is talked about at any given time in some ofthe stories recounted in the four Gospels.

Luke identified the Mary of this story as Mary of Magdala, a womanwho had been exorcised of evil spirits. She was one of the womenwho accompanied Jesus in the course of his Galilean ministry andthen travelled with him to Jerusalem. These women are identifiedlater as witnesses to the burial of Jesus and first witnesses ofthe empty tomb (Luke 23:55 - 24:10).

Only Luke acknowledged such a central role of women in the ministryof Jesus, women who were with Jesus right through his ministry. Andonly Luke named this core group of women, a naming which was insome ways comparable to the naming of the core group of men foundin each of the four Gospels. Naming them was important to Lukebecause the recording of their names showed that there really wereactual, known women who exercised this special role, close to theperson of Jesus of Nazareth.

In each case where Luke identified such women by name, Luke putMary Magdalene at the head of the group, as though the leader ofthe women disciples. The Church has singled her out on this day ofthe year for her leading role in the ministry of Jesus and hercloseness to Jesus himself - and because she was a forgiven sinner,much loved by God.

This was one of the major themes which Luke adopted in the writingof his account of the ministry of Jesus, the much loved repentantsinner. But it does not mean that it is right to identify Mary ofMagdala with the woman who anointed the feet of Jesus with oilin Luke 7:37, a few verses prior to our passagetoday.

To Ponder

  • Who are the women deeply significant in your life and faithjourney?
  • How does this acknowledgement of Mary Magdalene and the otherwomen help you to see the ministry of Jesus in deeperfullness?
  • What implications does this have for the role of men and womenin the life of Church and society today?
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