Mary Magdalene not a sinner

There are misconceptions about Mary Magdalene. Perhaps she is the most defamed person in the history of the world. There are people who say she was a great sinner by which they mean she was an adulteress or a prostitute. Many of them have heard that from others and repeat it.

It is wrong to say Mary Magdalene was a great sinner because Jesus cleansed her of seven demons. It means Jesus cured her of sickness. At that time people did not know of epilepsy. According to the Bible in one case Jesus cast out many demons from one person. Those demons entered pigs and ran into the sea and those pigs died. One pope, probably St. Leo I, identified seven demons with seven deadly sins, lust being the worst. After that Mary Magdalene was defamed.

Mary Magdalene is not the Mary of Bethany, who anointed Jesus’ feet and wiped them with her hair or the penitent woman whose sins Jesus pardoned for anointing him with oil worth 300 denarii mentioned in the Gospel of St. Luke. Mary Magdalene was from Magdala. St. Gregory I wrongly identified the three as one.

Mary Magdalene is not the woman caught in adultery and brought before Jesus as mentioned in the Gospel of St. John. This wrong identification led many to believe Mary Magdalene was an adulteress. We do not know what Jesus wrote at the time. Some say he wrote the sins of people who wanted to stone the woman. Some say Jesus did not condemn anyone and did not write the sins. Jesus had used harsh words against scribes and Pharisees and could have written their sins to save the woman.

She was one of the women who accompanied and aided Jesus in Galilee. She witnessed Jesus’ crucifixion and burial. She stood by the cross, near Mary, mother of Jesus, and the beloved disciple of Jesus who is said to be St. John. Mary Magdalene is the first person to whom Jesus appears after his resurrection. He instructed her to tell the Apostles that he was ascending to God. She is the Apostle of Apostles. According to the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Luke there were other women with Mary Magdalene when she saw Jesus.

Every saint may have a past and every sinner may have a future but it is not proper to say someone is a sinner based on wrong interpretation or wrong identification. Mary Magdalene is a saint and her feast day is 22 July.

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