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The Lady and the Skull

By Julio Obscura
On February 18, 2011

   While walking around the main square of the town of Tepetlaoxtoc, Mexico,you can't help but notice a breathtaking magnificent church surrounded by a long white painted stone fence. As I got closer to the main gothic gates of the church, which were closed, I noticed from afar a fascinating stained glass depiction of a beautiful woman wearing a black long dress holding a crucifix in her hand, and next to her, there was a the perturbing image of a white skull; I took as many pictures as possible.

   When I got back to Laredo, I curiously reviewed my photos and I became more intrigued when I found out the depiction was that of Mary Magdalene who has been identified as an adulteress and a repentant prostitute, or also, made famously known by the bestselling book The DaVinci Code, the wife of Jesus .

   I had questions about why she has a skull next to her, and why was she praised as a saint if she was judged by an act of adultery. It kept me intrigued.

   The gospel of Philip is of extreme importance because of what it has to say about Jesus' relationship with Mary Magdalene and a kiss that Jesus gave to her. Although the text is not clear on that point, the passage of original manuscript referring to Mary Magdalene is incomplete and damaged. Several words are missing, but most unfortunately there is a hole in the manuscript after the phrase "and used to kiss her often on her....", That phrase alone has created many speculations about Jesus such as Jesus being married to her. But if this was true, why do we recognize Jesus as being celibate?

   Dr. Jaclyn Jeffrey,  Associate Professor of Anthropology stated: "A lot of people believe that Mary Magdalene was the wife of Jesus, and what biblical scholars say about why is that somewhat credible is because she, in almost every important aspect of Jesus' life, was there."  Mary's presence at the Crucifixion and later at Jesus' tomb is at least of consistence with the role of grieving wife and widow. Not just that, but she was the chosen one by Jesus to send the message of his resurrection to the disciples. In addition, Dr. Jeffrey mentioned, "Jesus was called rabbi by his disciples, and Jewish historians say that in order to be considered a rabbi, you had to be an adult, married, Jewish man. Therefore, he had to be married in order to be called a rabbi." After contacting the "Parroquia de Santa Maria Magdalena," I was informed that the depiction of Mary Magdalene next to the skull and holding a crucifix was a symbolism of her presence at the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus.

   Many decades have passed and Mary Magdalene still has a strong influence in many biblical stories and even fictional books of today's world. We may never learn the real truth behind such controversial and amazing story. Something I did come to understand was that Mary Magdalene has passed for many years unnoticed. She was without a doubt one of the most, if not the most important, and loyal disciple of Jesus.

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