Church

Saint Mary Magdalen

The Church today remembers liturgically St Mary Magdalen.

Almighty God, whose blessed Son restored Mary Magdalene to health of body and mind,

and called her to be a witness to his resurrection:

Mercifully grant that by your grace we may be healed from all our infirmities

and know you in the power of his unending life;

who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns,

one God, now and for ever.

Wikipedia has more on her.

Mary Magdalene (original Greek Μαρία ἡ Μαγδαληνή), or Mary of Magdala and sometimes The Magdalene, is a religious figure in Christianity. She is usually thought of as the second-most important woman in the New Testament after Mary, the mother of Jesus. Mary Magdalene traveled with Jesus as one of his followers. She was present at Jesus’ two most important moments: the crucifixion and the resurrection. Within the four Gospels, the oldest historical record mentioning her name, she is named at least 12 times, more than most of the apostles. The Gospel references describe her as courageous, brave enough to stand by Jesus in his hours of suffering, death and beyond.

In the New Testament, Jesus cleansed her of “seven demons”,[Lk. 8:2] [Mk. 16:9] sometimes interpreted as referring to complex illnesses. Mary was most prominent during Jesus’ last days. When Jesus was crucified by the Romans, Mary Magdalene was there supporting him in his final moments and mourning his death. She stayed with him at the cross after the other disciples (except John the Beloved) had fled. She was at his burial, and she is the only person that all four Gospels say was first to realize that Jesus had risen and to testify to that central teaching of faith. John 20 and Mark 16:9 specifically name her as the first person to see Jesus after his resurrection. She was there at the “beginning of a movement that was going to transform the West”. She was the “Apostle to the Apostles”, an honorific that fourth-century orthodox theologian Augustine gave her and that others earlier had possibly conferred on her.

Throughout the centuries there have been many extra-biblical speculations about her role before and after she met Jesus. These have included theories presenting her as a harlot, the secret lover or wife of Jesus and/or the mother of their child, and leader among the women following Jesus, similar to the role of Simon Peter among the men.

Mary Magdalene is considered to be a saint by the Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican and Lutheran churches—with a feast day of July 22. Other Protestant churches honor her as a heroine in the faith. The Eastern Orthodox churches also commemorate her on the Sunday of the Myrrhbearers, the Orthodox equivalent of one of the Western Three Marys traditions.

 

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Church

Christ in the Tomb

Holbein, Hans the Younger
The Body of the Dead Christ in the Tomb
1521

O God, Creator of heaven and earth: Grant that, as the crucified body of your dear Son was laid in the tomb and rested on this holy Sabbath, so we may await with him the coming of the third day, and rise with him to newness of life; who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

– Book of Common Prayer

Church

Palm Sunday

Jesus proceeded on his journey up to Jerusalem.
As he drew near to Bethphage and Bethany
at the place called the Mount of Olives,
he sent two of his disciples.
He said, “Go into the village opposite you,
and as you enter it you will find a colt tethered
on which no one has ever sat.
Untie it and bring it here.
And if anyone should ask you,
‘Why are you untying it?’
you will answer,
‘The Master has need of it.’”
So those who had been sent went off
and found everything just as he had told them.
And as they were untying the colt, its owners said to them,
“Why are you untying this colt?”
They answered,
“The Master has need of it.”
So they brought it to Jesus,
threw their cloaks over the colt,
and helped Jesus to mount.
As he rode along,
the people were spreading their cloaks on the road;
and now as he was approaching the slope of the Mount of Olives,
the whole multitude of his disciples
began to praise God aloud with joy
for all the mighty deeds they had seen.
They proclaimed:
“Blessed is the king who comes
in the name of the Lord.
Peace in heaven
and glory in the highest.”
Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him,
“Teacher, rebuke your disciples.”
He said in reply,
“I tell you, if they keep silent,
the stones will cry out!”

– Luke 19:28-40

Church

What Determines the Date of Ash Wednesday?

Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, is only five weeks away. If that seems early compared with last year, you’re right. Ash Wednesday 2013 falls nine days earlier than Ash Wednesday 2012 did. Last year, Easter fell right in the middle between the earliest date it can occur and the latest date, but this year, Easter is on the early side–and that means Ash Wednesday will be, too.

Two factors determine the date of Ash Wednesday. The first is the date of Easter. (See How Is the Date of Ash Wednesday Calculated? to learn the exact relationship between the date of Ash Wednesday and the date of Easter.) The second is the length of Lent. While Lent is 40 days, Sundays are not included in the count. (See How Are the 40 Days of Lent Calculated? for more information.) Since six Sundays fall within the 40 days of Lent, Ash Wednesday falls 46 days before Easter every year.

You can find the date of Ash Wednesday for this and future years in When Is Ash Wednesday?

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