I marked the memorial of St. Mary Magdalene by reading again the Gospel of Mary, a second-century manuscript rediscovered in the late 19th century, and published first only in 1955. (The text can be found at http://www.gnosis.org/library/marygosp.htm.) I am struck by several passages that seem appropriate reminders to the contemporary Church, for example, the risen Christ commands the disciples to preach, but warns them: “Do not lay down any rules beyond what I appointed you, and do not give a law like the lawgiver lest you be constrained by it.” And of course, this “apostle to the apostles,” the first witness to the resurrection who brought a word of hope to her frightened brothers, ticked off a resentful Peter, who said “Did He really speak privately with a woman and not openly to us? Are we to turn about and all listen to her?” In the Gospel of Mary, Peter is shushed by Levi, who says: “Peter, Peter you have always been hot tempered.” They listen to Mary, and head out to proclaim the Word. For more, including a discussion of women’s leaderrship in the early Church, see Karen L. King’s 2003 book: The Gospel of Mary of Magdala: Jesus and the First Woman Apostle.