Mary Magdalene, the apostle of the apostles

Mary Magdalene, a character from the Gospel that tradition has often confused. Collective symbol of the leading role of women in Christianity as the first creature that the newly risen Jesus wanted to meet. she was Mary of Magdala to whom he entrusted the task of the very first announcement of making the other disciples aware of the Resurrection.

In the Gospels, we read that Mary was originally from Magdala, a fishing village on the western shore of Lake Tiberias. Under the same name of Mary Magdalene, perhaps due to the need to harmonize similar stories, different women have been unified.

  • The Magdalene, freed from the seven demons, is interpreted as a sign of dissolute life (Mark 16.9 – Luke 8.2).
  • The anonymous prostitute wets Jesus’ feet with tears, sprinkling them with perfume (Luke 7: 36-50).
  • Mary of Bethany, described as the one who anoints the feet of the Nazarene, with the expensive essence of nard, drying them with her hair (John 12: 1-8).
  • The anonymous woman who in the house of Simon the leper pours a very precious perfume on the head of Jesus.

A long process of alteration and re-dimensioning gives us a figure of sinner and repentant, in which beauty and mortification of the body merge. She needs to remove taboos, misunderstandings, and manipulations, reaffirming with courage the roles played by women from the very beginning in the heart of Christianity.

The Mary Magdalene case must therefore be included in the broader analysis of the presence of women in history. in view of a reconstruction of relational models more suited to an inclusive Church. That is in accordance with the egalitarian doctrine that Jesus has put in place towards women.

Mary Magdalene the Church is Feminine

For this reason, it would be necessary to rethink the traditional ecclesiological models according to the principle of baptismal and apostolic co-responsibility. Focus on the Gospel message and the affirmation of a discipleship of equals. For Pope Bergoglio, this is to invite the Church to speak about itself.

The role of women in the Church is not only motherhood but it is stronger. it is precisely the icon of the Virgin Mary, of the Madonna, that helps the Church to grow. Our Lady is more important than the apostles! The Church is feminine – she is Church, she is bride, she is mother.

In conclusion, the proclamation delegated by the risen Jesus to Mary Magdalene invests the very identity of Christianity. Because it asks crucial questions about the role of women in the Church. On the male monopoly of the theological-doctrinal patrimony and on the institutional systems that have historically contributed to the marginalization of women.

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