Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Mary, Mary on the contrary

This week we hear a great deal about Mary of Magadala, probably the most unjustly maligned woman in the New Testament. All because of one unfortunate mistake in one homily. In a homily from the year 561 Pope Gregory the Great conflates three women in the Bible as if they were one: Mary of Bethany, Mary magdalene, and the sinful woman in Luke.

This error has been past down from generation to generation. Perhaps Wnston Churchhill was correct when he said, "A lie can make it half way around the world before the truth can put its pants on."

While this was an error not a lie it does seem to reveal that there is something in us that likes to hear the worst about others. Much of our "news" and other programs seem to thrive on gossip.

The more I reflect on it the more i wonder if it isn't an unconscious way of making us feel better about ourselves. When others are torn down, we are de facto in a higher position.

Thankfully for Mary of Magdala's reputation Pope Paul VI, without attacking his predecessor, gently corrected the error. Perhaps as we begin the Easter season it is time for us to take a new look at some people we may have misjudged in our lives.