Easter in July

Mary Magdalene Tiberias Jerusalem church
painting in the Russian Orthodox church of Mary Magdalene in Jerusalem

Mary Magdalene loved the Lord Jesus enough to seek restlessly for Him. Then she found Him—or He found her. She learned that He had risen from the dead.

The Bible tells us that Mary Magdalene announced the resurrection to the Apostles. One tradition reports that she traveled to Rome to tell the Emperor Tiberius that Jesus had risen.

Mary presented an egg to the emperor as a symbol of Christ’s resurrection. Tiberius replied, “That man no more rose from the dead than that egg is red.” Whereupon the egg turned red—the first dyed Easter egg.

Mary also apparently sailed to France, where she proclaimed the Gospel, then lived as a hermit until her death. (Presumably on July 22.) They preserve her remains in a Gothic basilica outside Marseille.

Three years ago Pope Francis raised today’s commemoration from the rank of Memorial to Feast. Christians have commemorated Mary Magdalene on July 22 since time immemorial. During the Middle Ages her feast day was a holy day of obligation in England.

Anyway, today’s feast gives us a little extra Easter, in July. Mary’s beloved Lord rose from the dead, to give us life. Praised be the Lord Jesus Christ, now and forever.

Basilica St Maximin w tomb of Mary Magdalene
Basilica of St. Maximin, with the tomb of Mary Magdalene

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