Greetings in the Name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ:
Today, July 22, is when the Christian Church celebrates the Feast of Saint Mary Magdalene. This post is devoted to one of the Feast Days that the historic Christian Church observed that are generally neglected today.
“Whenever the New Testament Gospels name the women who were with Jesus, Saint Mary Magdalene is listed first (John 19:25 is the only exception), perhaps because she was the first to see the risen Savior alive. Luke 8:2 reports that Jesus had cured her of being possessed by seven demons. Through the centuries, she has often been identified with the repentant ‘woman of the city’ who anointed Jesus’ feet as He sat at the table in the Pharisee’s home (Luke 7:36-50). But there is no biblical basis for the identification of her with the penitent prostitute. Nor is she to be identified as Mary, the sister of Martha, in Bethany. According to the Gospels, Mary Magdalene saw Jesus die; she witnessed His burial; and, most important, she was the first to see Him alive again after His resurrection (John 20:11-18). It is for good reason that Bernard of Clairvaux calls her ‘the apostle to the apostles.’” 1
The verse or theme for this feast is “Alleluia. Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, ‘I have seen the Lord.’ Alleluia.” It is from John 20:18. The focus for your devotion this day is that the resurrection of Jesus our Lord was first witnessed by Saint Mary Magdalene and then by more than five hundred brothers and sisters and that they proceeded to proclaim that Good News to others.
Old Testament: Proverbs 31:10-31
Second Reading: Acts 13:26-31
Holy Gospel: John 20:1-2, 10-18
The hymn appointed for this day is “Now All the Vault of Heaven Resounds” as found on page 465 in the Lutheran Service Book. You may hear the hymn at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lpArZ_eAMqM
Collect of the Day:
Almighty God, Your Son, Jesus Christ, restored Mary Magdalene to health and called her to be the first witness of His resurrection. Heal us from all our infirmities, and call us to know You in the power of Your Son’s unending life; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Pastor Jim Tuell
1 Treasury of Daily Prayer, Scot A Kinnaman, General Editor, Concordia Publishing House, Saint Louis, MO., 2008, p, 549.