The Other Mary

Monday in the Octave of Easter
April 10, 2023

Today’s Readings:

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, our readings remind us that the witness of others, and their faithful companionship, are incalculable gifts to strengthen our faith.

In the passage from Acts, Peter summons the ancient witness of David in attestation to the Resurrection. David is the perfect exponent, because Peter is speaking to the Jews whose faith is built on David’s heritage.

My brothers and sisters, one can confidently say to you
about the patriarch David that he died and was buried,
and his tomb is in our midst to this day.
But since he was a prophet and knew that God had sworn an oath to him
that he would set one of his descendants upon his throne,
he foresaw and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ,
that neither was he abandoned to the netherworld
nor did his flesh see corruption.

Acts 2: 29-31

Our Responsorial Psalm recalls David’s Resurrection testimony, particularly these lines:

Therefore my heart is glad and my soul rejoices,
my body, too, abides in confidence;
Because you will not abandon my soul to the nether world,
nor will you suffer your faithful one to undergo corruption.

You will show me the path to life,
fullness of joys in your presence,
the delights at your right hand forever.

Psalm 16: 9-11

Matthew’s Gospel retells the witness scene John gave us, allowing us a slightly different slant on the story:

Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went away quickly from the tomb,
fearful yet overjoyed,
and ran to announce the news to his disciples.
And behold, Jesus met them on their way and greeted them.
They approached, embraced his feet, and did him homage.
Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid.
Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee, 
and there they will see me.”

Matthew 28:7-10

The Two Marys Watch the Tomb – James Tissot

Matthew incorporates the “other Mary” as a first witness to the Resurrection. How wonderful for that faithful disciple whoever she was!

We may not know her full name but we can be rather certain of this – she was Mary Magdalen’s treasured friend. “Other Mary” was the one Magdalen went to when she was just a little too afraid to go find Jesus all by herself. And “Other Mary” was close enough to Jesus that he chose her too to be a “First Witness” of the Resurrection.

“Other Mary” didn’t have the notoriety that Mary Magdalen had. Magdalen was prominent enough that she carried the name of her hometown. “Other Mary” didn’t have such a designation. She was probably a quieter, less recognized, but nevertheless invaluable contributor to the early Christian community.

We know the kind of person “Other Mary” was. We may be blessed with such friends and companions in our own lives, always there, always supportive, always faithful.

Perhaps we want to spend a little time in prayer with “Other Mary”, asking her to help us gratefully recognize those who have companioned us in our faith life.

We might ask her too to help us deepen our own steadfast presence to others in faith, hope and love.

Poetry: An Easter Flower Gift – John Greenleaf Whittier

O dearest bloom the seasons know,
Flowers of the Resurrection blow,
Our hope and faith restore;
And through the bitterness of death
And loss and sorrow, breathe a breath
Of life forevermore!

The thought of Love Immortal blends
With fond remembrances of friends;
In you, O sacred flowers,
By human love made doubly sweet,
The heavenly and the earthly meet,
The heart of Christ and ours!

Music: Bridge Over Troubled Waters – Simon and Garfunkel

3 thoughts on “The Other Mary

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