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John 20:18. Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord.”
The information about Mary Magdalene tantalizes the imagination. A Jesus groupie in an age when decent women did not leave home to follow itinerant men. One from whom seven demons, by Luke’s count, were exorcised. A woman of such low status that she was free to stand unchallenged at the crucifixion site. It is no wonder that, like other women who do not fit into boxes of conventional understanding, she is defined in terms of sex. By declaring her a prostitute, imagination satisfies the Bible’s thin facts and the human desire for predictability. She has become a sex symbol in every sense of the word.
In seeing her this way, we miss the single piece of information that connects Mary to us all: gratitude. She followed Jesus because he cast out the seven demons. Jesus gave her new life and hope, a fact she never forgot and carried as her banner through thick and thin. If one or more of the demons in her had a sexual manifestation, it does not matter to the bottom line. Mary Magdalene is witness to the power of gratitude, a power available to our lives as well as hers.
Today the Church remembers Saint Mary Magdalene.