It is barely dawn. The sky to the east is barely light, an anemic shade
of grayish-purple, for the sun is still hidden by clouds which hug the
horizon. But the Passover feast has ended and movement beyond the house is
The door leading from the House of the Last Supper into the narrow street
opens. Three women emerge. Mary of Magdala comes first, and wraps her
mantle about her to ward off the chill dampness. The other women are also
huddled deep in their mantles, and their veils mostly cover their faces.
They are afraid; their heads turn left, right, left as if searching for an
"Don't be afraid. We will come to no harm. His Mother blessed our
mission. We must have faith!" is the Magdalene's advice, as she sets off
down the street, well ahead of the other women. I do not know who they
are, so concealed are they in their mantles, but I am given to understand
that Mary, the mother of James and Judas Thaddeus, and the mother of James
and John accompany Lazarus' sister upon her work of mercy.
The streets are empty, stray dogs, cats, even rats scurry out of Mary's
way. She is fairly flying down the rough streets. It is as if a magnet
pulls at her. The other women call to her to slow down, but she does not
hear them. Or rather, the inner pull to Our Lord's tomb is so great she
cannot slow her pace. She takes side alleys, staying away from the town
proper, and it all becomes a maze to me as I do not know Jerusalem and have
no landmarks to tell me in which direction the Magdalene moves.
Obediently, I follow her.
Soon she has gone past one of the gates, which lead into and out of
Jerusalem. She turns to her right, descending a series of rough stone
stairs badly in need of repair. At the lower level, she turns left. This
is more a path than a street. The surface is dirt, hard-packed from the
feet of many passersby. There is no one about now, only the Magdalene, and
many paces behind are the other Marys. The area becomes greener as the
city wall is left behind. I notice there is more light now. There is a
rosy glow in the east, suggesting sunrise is fast approaching.
At a certain point, Mary, Lazarus' sister, reaches a place where there is
a sturdy row of bushes or shrubs which act as a border along the path. I
do not know the variety, only that they are thick and impenetrable. But
Mary pauses, reaches out, and fumbles with a bold. I see, then, as I come
closer to her, that she stands before a small gate, which separates the
bushes and provides entry into the enclosed area.
Only when she is certain the others know of the entrance does she hurry
on. The path is not as well-packed here, as it moves in and among an
orchard and garden which appears well-tended. Tucked back off the path,
surrounded by flowering trees, I notice a small house. Actually, we would
call it a hut by today's standards. There is no sign of anyone in this
swelling, but again I am given to understand that the keeper of this garden
dwells here. It is his home.
The path goes downhill at a rather step angle, and now Mary is truly
running. The landscape shifts here, for the greenery is not as dense, the
ground seems rockier.
Mary's eyes are fixed intently ahead, and I follow her gaze. There, not
too far in the distance, I behold Our Lord's tomb.
This is Mary's objective. Her only desire and I am allowed to feel within
my own heart how love is the driving force for all her movements. It is a
love for the Master so deep, so pure, holy that I understand how little is
my own love, and how little is the love given Him by all the world. Mary
of Magdala is there to be for Him what the world will not give Him! Love!