A Message from Father Nick 57 (contd)
Jesus offers the same reassuring arm in his constant healing of creation. And in a special way he brings that healing to our persistent wounds of gender division. Women trust him – they come to him and touch him, knowing that their action will not be misunderstood. The woman with the haemorrhage, the woman who washes his feet with her tears and dries them with her hair, the women who come with Mary Magdalene to anoint his body… In an age of “Me Too”, it is hugely restorative to find the dignity imparted by his own respect for them and by his utterly unselfish love.
And it is linked with something even more profound. We have seen once before how Fra Angelico’s painting of the Angel Gabriel announcing the Good News to Mary of Nazareth can be almost mirrored by his painting of Jesus and Mary Magdalene on Easter Sunday morning. Each occasion is a “first”. Mary Magdalene is the first of his friends to see the risen Lord, just as Mary of Nazareth is the first person to receive the message of his conception and birth. The meeting at the tomb confers on Mary Magdalene a unique distinction. She is told that she must not cling to her Lord “because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go and find my brothers and tell them: I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.”
This “Annunciation” of her Lord’s new Easter life, given to Mary Magdalene to share, will always be her special prerogative, preserved in a title no one else can claim: “The apostle to the apostles.”
Noli me Tangere, 1947, Jozef Sekalski, National Galleries Scotland
©The Estate of the Artist
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