Defending Mary Magdalene

Q.Today I was chatting with a friend who is a Buddhist. She does not have a deep knowledge of the Bible and she talked about Mary Magdalene as a great sinner and former prostitute who developed a romantic relationship with Jesus. I wanted to correct her, but I couldn't find the right words. Can you help me? (Davenport, Iowa)

A. Your friend has perhaps been influenced by the novelist Dan Brown, who suggested in his book "The Da Vinci Code" that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene and fathered a child by her.

Dan Brown is in the entertainment business. He is a writer of fiction, and this is what he has done. There is no historical basis for the scenario he has created. Mary of Magdala first appears in Luke's Gospel as a woman from whom seven devils had been expelled.

There is no scriptural evidence to link her to the sinful woman mentioned a chapter earlier in Luke who, at the Pharisee's house, washed the feet of Jesus with her tears and dried them with her hair.

What we know from the Gospels about Mary Magdalene is that she was a loyal disciple of Christ who, along with other women, helped to support His work financially. She witnessed His Crucifixion and His burial, and she spoke with the risen Lord on Easter Sunday morning and reported His Resurrection to the apostles.

Besides the lack of any hard evidence for his fanciful assertions, I would want to ask Brown this: If Mary Magdalene and Jesus really were married and had a child together, then why, from the cross on Good Friday, did Christ assign John to take care of His mother and make no provision for His "wife" and their "child?"

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2015