An Icon for Our Century
It is Mary Magdalene, the evangelist John details, to whom Jesus first appears after the resurrection. It is Mary Magdalene who is instructed to proclaim the Easter message to the others. It is Mary Magdalene whom Jesus commissions to “tell Peter and the others that I have gone before them into Galilee.”
And, then, the Scripture says pathetically, “But Peter and John and the others did not believe her and they went to the tomb to see for themselves.”
It is two thousand years later and little or nothing has changed. The voice of women proclaiming the presence of Christ goes largely unconfirmed. The call of women to minister goes largely unnoted. The commission of women to the church goes largely disdained.
Mary Magdalene is, no doubt about it, an important icon for the twenty-first century.
She calls women to listen to the call of the Christ over the call of the church.
She calls men to listen for the call of the Christ in the messages of women.
She calls women to courage and men to humility.
She calls all of us to faith and fortitude, to unity and universalism, to a Christianity that rises above sexism, a religion that transcends the idolatry of maleness, and a commitment to the things of God that surmounts every obstacle and surpasses every system.
Mary Magdalene is a shining light of hope, a disciple of Christ, a model of the wholeness of life, in a world whose name is despair and in a church whose vision is yet, still, even now, partial.
—from A Passion for Life by Joan Chittister (Orbis)