And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him. And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun. And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre? And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great. And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted. And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him. But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you. And they went out quickly, and fled from the sepulchre; for they trembled and were amazed: neither said they any thing to any man; for they were afraid.
[Mark 16]

But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee
Because Peter is hiding in shame, having betrayed Jesus three times before the cock crowed — as predicted — ?

Mary Magdalene, a follower of Jesus. Mary was a common name. The “Magdalene” part probably means she was from the fishing village Magdala. In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus exorcises seven demons from her. The idea that she was a prostitute is a confusion introduced in 591 by Pope Gregory. She was one of the women who supported Jesus’s ministry, so many suppose she came from at least some wealth.

Mary the mother of James the Younger might be Mary Jesus’s mother’s sister; or maybe not. James the Lesser or Younger was one of two disciples named James, the other being James the Greater or Older.

Salome is sometimes thought to be the mother of James the Older.

Mark mentions all three women as being present at Jesus’s crucifixion.

Only the Gospel of John claims that Jesus’s mother was present at the crucifixion, so I’m going to guess she wasn’t there. But I don’t know. And what would she be doing instead?


Two women with grown disciples and one
who I don’t know if she had kids or no.
With spices sweet they’d dress his corpse. He’d won
his race and finished — as all who come and go —
not merely last, but dead last. Noth’in do’in
but spicing, mourning, and remembering.
Remembering when! Yet here in the tomb:
A young man sits in white, affrightening,
though saying: Affright yourselves not! This Jesus
is risen. Tell the others — Peter too:
He fucked up, but people do.
What could they but tremble and be amazed?
What were they but women at a friend’s grave?
In silence, preparing dinner for those
who’d spent three years of short lives at his side.
Afraid to speak what she now knows,
one Mary of many struggles to find
an answer. Searches through her heart, and seeks
their eyes. Her heart, their eyes: All glance down meek.
Not heart nor eyes explain what heart and eye
did feel and see at that stone where he did not lie.

Author: BW
Editor: AW
Copyright: AM Watson

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