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The Penitent

Started 8 February 2006

Last Revised 14 February 2006

     The father of the siblings was a wealthy man named Syrus.  He came from the line of David and was considered royal.  When he died, all the property were divided equally among the three descendants.  The son chose a military career.  The holy daughter took excellent care of her holdings.  The other daughter spent and flaunted her share.  The former bemoaned the latter’s extravagance and vanity.  They lived in the family castle along the shore of Galilee where association with pagans made the frivolous sister’s behavior also became quite untraditional by Jewish standards.  No one took into account that their mother was the daughter of the Duke of Syria.  How did she dress?  What and how much cosmetics and pagan type jewelry did she wear?  What religious practices did she observe or drop?  Did she eat pork or drink old fermented wine?  Did she frequent the Roman baths and entertainment places?  Did she forget to wear a veil or not use it properly?  She has been often depicted with red flowing hair that was at least partially visible.  She fixed her hair well.  Unfortunately, doing hair is the expression sometimes used to denote prostitution.  She was simply called “the sinner”.   

     After the incident in the temple at the age of twelve,  Jesus, Mary, Joseph’s, step brothers James and Josse’s home became well known to men hoping to have Jesus for a son-in-law.  At the age of thirteen, when Jewish males have their bar mitzvah and take a wife, Jesus secretly left and joined a caravan to India and Tibet for more sublime undertakings.  He studied the ways and laws and beliefs of the Brahmans and other religious ministers.  He preached as well.  Thus He grew in strength and stature.  Upon return to His homeland, He was baptized by His cousin John the Baptist and was publicly recognized by His heavenly Father and the Holy Spirit.

     By this time, most of His countrymen have walked away from the laws handed by God to Moses.  It was definitely time to start His public life.  People listened and word about His preaching reached the authorities who sent men to follow Him and report what He said.  One time, a man stepped in front of a woman so he can hear better.  Jesus then spoke about the need to respect, heed and honor women for they are progenitors of nations. 

     The holy sister believed in Jesus and persuaded the frivolous one to accept His teachings.  Jesus was invited for dinner and the holy sister, realizing the importance of this visit tried her utmost to prepare the best banquet possible.  The frivolous one was deeply intent on absorbing Jesus’ words that she spent every minute to complete her instructions.  Later, Jesus forgave her all her sins.  From then on, she was His top student, most ardent follower and seen with the Apostles.

     Peter once suggested that Jesus send her away for women were not supposed to be there.  Jesus replied that He would make her a male Himself.  Jewish women at the time had very little rights and authority if any.  They were not allowed to make decisions or disbursements of their personal property which could not be in their name to begin with.  They were not allowed to speak in meeting places and in public.  If they did, their opinions were not heard.  Jesus empowered the Penitent as she was known by then to be responsible, authorized and able to do the same duties as the male apostles.  She was elevated to the top circle of His active, cooperative, corporate, koikonos to save souls.  She was one of the most constant travel companions along with His mother and His mother’s sister.  She contributed from her substance financially aiding the work of the apostles and was seen sitting on His dinner couch.  A free meal in exchange for donations?  I would have done the same and more to stay away from the kitchen.

     The Apostles were disturbed by Jesus’ kissing her often and on the mouth.  Jesus knew that the holy sister felt much better that the Penitent was in the company of His vestry board dressed in a modest necked long sleeved, unisex opaque robe plus a veil!.  She listened attentively and understood his teachings.  After His death, when the apostles were reviewing all they have learned, she recounted them.  The Apostles asked why they were not told the same things.   She remembered everything.  The Apostles asked why Jesus loved her more.  He was delighted to have someone of her caliber, zest and social status then hidden under the fisher of men uniform, in His team rather than in the opposition.  He replied by asking why He loved them less.  Before that, the Penitent had asked what the disciples were like.  He said they wee like babes but she should be well prepared because she was well informed of dangers to come. 

     I suppose Judas Iscariot was not relaxed enough and so limited his kiss to Jesus’ cheek.  What was the customary form of greeting at that time?  Peter cut off a soldier’s ear.  Jesus performed a successful futuristic plastic surgical procedure on the spot.  Why Muhammad did not believe that Jesus is God after hearing stories like this is baffling.  Either the Angel Gabriel spoke faulty Arabic or lost his voice at critical times during the revelation, instruction, compiling and writing period.  Environmental noise probably was also to blame.  Mohammed did say that it is disrespectful to even think that God would beget a son.  His respect for God is admirable.  It is unfortunate that a term limited to human and animal biology had to be used to explain God the Son’s coming to being.   There has to be a more appropriate word but it probably is part of a language beyond our comprehension.  God’s complexity is not within our capability to describe.  All we can say is that everything is possible with God.

     When Peter denied knowing Jesus and the Apostles, except for John, hid, the Penitent stayed with the Blessed Virgin Mary.  The people pointed at her and laughed.  Her usual courtesan appearance was gone and her landmark coiffed hair was visibly disheveled.  Her eyes were red and swollen from crying and her clothes were unkempt.  She managed to follow the Lord to the end.  She stood beneath the cross along with the Blessed Mother and the Beloved Apostle John.  She and her brother helped with the entombment of Jesus’ body and along with the Blessed Mother and the Apostle John witnessed the change on the outside surface of the shroud.  On the day of the resurrection, before sunup, it was she who discovered that the tomb was empty and that the shroud was cast aside.  She saw someone that she mistook for the gardener.  When He spoke and she realized Who she was with, she impulsively as any of the disciples would have done, tried to touch Him.  Kneeling and with her head on the ground, she called Him Rabboni as a sign of respect and awe, not lust.  Of course He reminded her that He still, as the First Fruit or Harvest, has to go to the Father as prophesied in the Old Testament.  He commanded her to tell the other Apostles that she saw Him and thus became "THE APOSTLE TO THE APOSTLES".

     Tradition says that she was present at the Ascension and Pentecost.  About three years later, she had an audience with Tiberius Ceasar in Rome and brought him the egg with the words “Christ is risen” written on it.  It turned red in front of his eyes.  After another eleven or so years, we see her, the holy sister and her soldier brother along with other pilgrims and the body of St. Anne cast away in a ship without sails, rudder or oars.  It was the Penitent who initially won the trust of the people of Marseilles.  Then for about thirty years, she was not seen or heard from and was feared dead.  Then a hermit wandering a little too far from his grotto at St. Baume, heard the harmony of angels singing and flapping of wings as they carried her to one of the places that show her the reward for belief in God.   Astounded, the hermit went to town and announced what he just witnessed.  The Penitent spent years in solitude, prayer and fasting while bewailing her past sins.  Angels came daily to give her Holy Communion.

     She supposedly was in Rome after the arrival of St. Paul for his first trial and stayed till two years afterwards.  It was commonly believed that she retired with the Blessed Mother and John in Ephesus. However, Tradition says that it was when she was bent with agethat she arrived there. 

     Being born with a silver spoon in her mouth, early influence of Roman dietary practices and thirty years of fasting took their toll.  She had Osteoporosis.  The frailty of her body masked her steadfastness.  It was said that she “laboured” John through Gospel 1 through 20 and that she may have been the author of some.  She was at least available for motivation, inspiration, comment and consultation along with the Blessed Virgin Mary.  St. John’s Gospels, though not necessarily penned by all of them, are products of the three individuals closest to Jesus Christ during His lifetime.  The number 666 may be colored by the events of the first century AD.  The individual referred to may be a symbol of similar entities with critical contributions to the dreaded associated outcome first prophesied by Daniel

     The Penitent lived to the age of about 72 years and died at about 75 AD. St. John was accompanied and probably assisted in his works by Barnabas after her death.  Just before her demise, she was mysteriously transported to St. Maximin, France.  A record of the Unction was found and lost.  Her original tomb is in the same area as the Cave of the Seven Sleepers near Ephesus and is a place where groups of combined Muslims and Christians alike visit.  After some transfers, her relics finally were kept in St. Maximin, France.

Last Updated 16 March 2006




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Magdalena D. Guerrero, M.D.  (dr G)