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On this Easter Sunday, celebrating the three Mary’s who stood at the foot of the cross

… women were closer to Jesus than his apostles

The image at the foot of the cross is clear, though the four synoptics — Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John — differ in exactly where they stood.

However, what is not in doubt is that the three Mary’s were the ones who never departed from Jesus’ side. All but one apostle had deserted him, including Peter, the “rock.”

However, those three Mary’s are the ones whom the book of John locates right at the feet of Jesus.

John locates the women directly at the foot of the cross. His list includes the mother of Jesus, his mother's sister, Mary wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.

Alice L. Camille, “Who were the women at the cross?” Vocation Network, August 3, 2016

These women had been with Jesus since Galilee, according to all of them.

Mary the mother is recognized in posterity.

Mary of Magdalene is not.

An abomination

I wrote about Mary Magdalene a few years ago. No woman’s reputation has been in tatters more than hers.

She was egregiously condemned as a prostitute by a pope, and the characterization stuck despite a lack of evidence. That pope said nothing about her being Jesus’ closest friend, nor did he say anything about her being with Jesus on Calvary.

Now, that is changing, but trying to destroy centuries of mistruths is challenging,

But the first witness to the Resurrection—as all four gospel writers agree—was a woman whose name and reputation have become so misunderstood, misinterpreted, and misconstrued over the centuries that she is more commonly, though erroneously, remembered as a prostitute than as the faithful first bearer of the Good News.

That woman is Mary of Magdala and, finally, her centuries-old case of mistaken identity is being rectified.

Now that scripture scholars have debunked the myth that she and the infamous repentant sinner who wiped Jesus’ feet with her tears are one and the same woman, word is trickling down that Mary Magdalene’s penitent prostitute label was a misnomer. Instead, her true biblical portrait is being resurrected, and this “apostle to the apostles” is finally taking her rightful place in history as a beloved disciple of Jesus and a prominent early church leader.

Heidi Schlumpf, “Who framed Mary Magdalene?” U.S.

Catholic [magazine], March 29, 2016

They were also at the tomb

In addition, the angel who appeared after Jesus’ resurrection talked to them, according to Matthew,

28 Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. 2 And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. 4 And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. 5 But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here, for he has risen, as he said.

Matthew, 1-6: 28

So, again, the Mary’s who were so instrumental in the story of Jesus’s death and resurrection are so vital to that narrative — but they have been maligned by organized religion.

One of the reasons that religion is dying in the U.S.

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