Today’s feast of St. Mary Magdalene is a good opportunity to set the record straight. Mary Magdalene was not the woman caught in adultery, nor was she the unnamed “sinful woman” who anointed the feet of Jesus in Luke’s Gospel. That said, she is the woman from whom Jesus expelled seven demons, also in Luke’s Gospel. But the idea that she was possessed by demons does not necessarily make her sinful, as many theologians and Scripture scholars have pointed out.
So in fact, aside from the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Mary Magdalene is perhaps the most honored woman in the New Testament. She was one of the women who was supporting Jesus and his disciples financially out of her means, and most notably, in today’s Gospel, is the first to have seen the Lord after the Resurrection. Think about that. Of all the people to whom Jesus appeared immediately following his resurrection, he chose this particular woman, not one of the men, to spread the message to the rest of them. For this reason, she is often called the “Apostle to the Apostles.”
So for the last twenty centuries or so, poor Mary Magdalene was a victim of mistaken identity. What we need to see today is that we owe a great deal to her faith because it was she who was first to proclaim the Good News that Jesus had risen from the dead.