Jesus and Mary Magdalene…
Christ first appears after His Resurrection to Mary Magdalene:
When he had risen, early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons. She went and told his companions who were mourning and weeping. When they heard that he was alive and had been seen by her, they did not believe. -Mark 16:9-11, NAB
The reunion of Jesus and Mary Magdalene, I think, is best told in the Gospel of St. John:
…she turned around and saw Jesus there, but did not know it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?”
She thought it was the gardener and said to him, “Sir, if you carried him away, tell me where you laid him, and I will take him.”
Jesus said to her, “Mary!”
She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni,” which means Teacher.
Jesus said to her, “Stop holding on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am going to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'”
Mary of Magdala went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord,” and what he told her.
Jesus could have chosen anyone to appear to first, and He chose Mary Magdalene. Now, do not believe all of the conspiracy theories that claim that she was His wife. Truly, I believe it is her faithfulness that helped her stand out from the crowd.
Over the past few days, as we have discussed Jesus’ crucifixion, we have seen a few heroes emerge (such as His mother and Joseph of Arimathea). Mary Magdalene also shows her heroism. When the other disciples fled, she was one of the few that stood by Him at the cross. After the Sabbath, she returned to anoint His body. She did not fear what repercussions may come her way for being a devoted follower.
In a very male-dominated culture, few people would have believed a woman telling about a man who resurrected from the dead, yet Jesus chose her anyway. His message was meant for all people – men and women alike. Who better to announce the Resurrection than a woman? It didn’t matter if she was a man or woman. Jesus didn’t even care about her past sins. What mattered to Him was her steadfast faithfulness.
Jesus broke the mold in comparison with Jewish prophets. He reached out to the sick and diseased when no one else would get near them, he embraced little children as if they were His own, he opened up His message to the Gentiles (something a Jew would never dream of doing), and He used a woman as His messenger – choosing Mary Magdalene to spread the news of His Resurrection.
May the steadfast faith of Mary Magdalene, a sinner who gave up her ways to follow Jesus completely, be an inspiration to us all.