Thursday, 21 July 2011

Feast or Famine

The Feast of Mary Magdalen
GospelMatthew 13:18-23 

Jesus said to his disciples, ‘You are to hear the parable of the sower. When anyone hears the word of the kingdom without understanding, the evil one comes and carries off what was sown in his heart: this is the man who received the seed on the edge of the path. The one who received it on patches of rock is the man who hears the word and welcomes it at once with joy. But he has no root in him, he does not last; let some trial come, or some persecution on account of the word, and he falls away at once. The one who received the seed in thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this world and the lure of riches choke the word and so he produces nothing. And the one who received the seed in rich soil is the man who hears the word and understands it; he is the one who yields a harvest and produces now a hundredfold, now sixty, now thirty.’

Matthew expects Jesus' explanation to make everything plain...and simple... a design for life. But life is not like that. I imagine Mary of Magdala's life was not like that. When the seed fell ...where was she?

Some studies say that Magdala was a town of ill repute on the shores of the Galilee- a town of fishermen and fishwives.   The seed falling on a girl child - if not unwanted then unwelcome. And then as she grew, the seed finding her in the outer rooms; whispers just loud enough that she would know her legacy; enough to awake a longing that had no name.

Then the demons... laughing, choking the hope from her; telling her that she was not good enough; the wrong sort; that it was she that was the darnel -  until the Sower gathered her in again; until the harvest of healing, forgiveness and, for a while, a community where she had a place to grow.

It took very little time for the weeds to grow again in Mary's life. She had survived sticks and stones but the words continued to hurt her even after her death. Mary well say it doesn't matter - it's not about her - and it's not. But Mary represents so many of the disenfranchised people of the Church; those who thought themselves chosen - but not acknowledged' those who thought themselves forgiven - but only by God; those who thought they had a home - until the community had a change of heart.

Faith can be all you have and your vocation can sing clearly in your soul but, Matthew, I have to tell you,  it is not always you who decides the richness of the soil you are planted in.

And maybe that is it -it isn't all about the soil, sometimes it is the seed itself that forces survival - in cracks in the pavement, spanning brick walls and clinging to chimney pots - the stubborn resilence of something who knows itself in God's eyes.

Mary Magdalen 

I’ve been watching your men, Peter.

Chattering like rooks in their bell towers;
Covetous of their traditions, their status quo.
Sending us back to the kitchen and bedroom yet again.
What dogma did they use this time?
Which chapter and verse?
The only time I ever saw the Master write
Was in the sand at a woman’s feet
And that was swept away by His Word.

There were always women, Peter;
Uncompromising, bleeding, sinful women.
Causing embarrassment even then.
You may have been the first chosen
But we were never an afterthought.
We sat at the Master’s feet
Spoke the words of faith,
Loved without compromise,
Believed without proof.

It wasn’t only you He sent out
And it wasn’t only you that came back.
And I know you remember
When the time came, where were the men?

Where were you?

Who walked the Via Dolorosa at the end?
Who cradled the Child of Light
in the bloody mire of Calvary?
Who were His witnesses?

He has forgiven you, Peter.
But you have forgotten us.
Remember He loves us both.
Are we not both Children of the Way?
Remind your men we are sisters
Not harlots
Change their hearts,
Change their minds.
Change them.



MikeF said...

Marvellous! And, unfortunately, as true now as then, at least in all too many places it seems. Thank you.

log said...

Very meaningful Mairie. Mary Magdalen was an apostle who really "walked the talk." She had every right to be the first apostle and teacher. What a tremendous act of love it was when she let go of Jesus after the resurrection.L+x

claire said...

A great post, Word.
Mary Magdalen was the apostle to the apostles, also called equal to the apostles. The fact that we still have some who believe she was of ill-repute shows the work that still remain.
Thank you for standing for her ♥