Mary Magdalene – the stone that was rejected


The stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.

By the LORD has this been done; it is wonderful in our eyes.

This is the day the LORD has made; let us be glad and rejoice in it.

Psalm 118

Mary Magdalene is the stone that the builders of the early Church rejected. From the earliest days after Jesus’ death and resurrection, Mary was questioned and challenged for the visions she had of Jesus and the teachings he had given her both before and after his death. Many of the disciples thought of Mary’s words as the ravings of a mad woman and questioned why Jesus would give these teachings to Mary and not to them. (ref: The Gospel of Mary Magdalene by Jean Yves-LeLoup). Already, Jesus’ teachings on equality, and the unique and special role of women was being sold out for the hierarchical/patriarchal norm. In first century Palestine where women were valued as less than cattle, the idea of women as equal to men did not stand a chance, especially with Peter and Paul (who are both scripturally represented as having issues with women) leading the charge.

Fast-forward two-thousand years and we see that really, nothing has changed. In the world, women have less of a voice, our uniquely sensitive natures are questioned or condemned, we are paid less than men for the same job, Motherhood is considered an obligation and is not valued for the work it is.

In the Church, women are valued even less than we are in the world. We are not allowed the same vocations as men, even when called to this vocation by “God himself.” Like Mary, our voices are condemned as the ravings of mad women, we have been burned at the stake for daring to share our healing gifts, and it is considered and affront to the Church to believe we should have the same opportunities as the men to lead and to serve. While in some religious denominations this has been changing, in the Catholic Church in which I was raised, women have no voice in the Church and are barred from any form of priestly service.

In the Christian Church, Peter became “the rock upon which I will build my Church.” The funny thing is that I don’t believe Jesus had any intention of building a Church, so I’m not sure where these words came from that have been attributed to Jesus for 2000 years, especially since it was Mary, called Magdalene who Jesus chose to reveal himself to on Easter morning, and the one he sent to bring the message of the good news to the other disciples, and the one Jesus ordained to continue his ministry in his stead.

Again, Mary is the stone the builders rejected. But, as the psalm continues to say, it is this stone that will become the cornerstone. In being rejected (as Jesus was rejected), Mary Magdalene is the cornerstone of the emerging “church” – a church that is nothing like a church at all, but is instead a movement:

A movement of love that serves the purpose of love to tear down the walls of separation, bring people together as equal in love where all human beings are honored as sacred, and to rebuild our world from one based in fear to one rooted in love.

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