WITNESSES BOTH MALE AND FEMALE
“Now when he rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons. She went out and told those who had been with him, as they mourned and wept. But when they heard that he was alive and had been seen by her, they would not believe it. After this he appeared in another form to two of them, as they were walking into the country. And they went back and told the rest, but they did not believe them. Afterward he appeared to the eleven themselves as they sat at table; and he upbraided them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen.” (Mk 16: 9-14)
The Lord’s original “plan,” for delivering the news of His resurrection to the Apostles, was to send a woman to do it. But that didn’t work, because “they would not believe” her, Mary Magdalene, whom our Tradition calls, perplexingly (for our time), “Equal to the Apostles.” Then, two of the disciples receive the same revelation, and tell the rest, but “they did not believe them” either. So, – we weren’t ready, at that point, to receive the good news from one another, as the risen Lord wanted us to.
But all that has changed, somehow, in the “Church of the Apostles.” Which is also, one must think, the “Church of the Equal to the Apostles.” Because we do, today, receive the good news from one another, both male and female, to a greater or lesser degree. We don’t do this perfectly, in our human weakness, but we do receive a Tradition passed on to us from the earliest eye-witnesses, both male and female, to our Lord’s resurrection. And this, trusting one another, I believe, is a gift of the Holy Spirit, poured out abundantly upon us at Pentecost. Glory be to the Holy Spirit, Who sends us out, both male and female, to deliver His good news, and overcomes in us our “unbelief and hardness of heart,” with respect to one another, – insofar as we are willing to accept this gift, in our human weakness.