One Sunday Morning

by Linda Barrett

The dawn arose in shades of florid pink and orange as the two figures left their small stone house. The two women wore their heads covered, as was the custom for female mourners in their culture. The taller of the duo, a former harlot known to the village’s people as Mary Magdalene, carried the urn full of burial spices under her arm. The shorter woman, known as Mary, the carpenter’s widow, held onto the neatly folded grave clothes. In this society, these two women shouldn’t have been together. They would not have even given each other the time of day. Yet, they walked side by side towards the graveyard.

“Will anyone know it’s us?” Mary, Joseph the carpenter’s widow asked Mary Magdalene.

She spoke in a meek, soft voice. It was the speech of a mother mourning the loss of her son.

“Not even the Romans will be up this early,” Magdalene said in a rough, hard voice which matched her rugged face.

“They put a guard at the tomb’s door. You know these Romans.”

Magdalene’s thoughts seemed to be somewhere else.

“Yes,” she stated. “I knew a lot of Romans.”

Mother Mary turned to stare at Mary’s profile with her broken, twisted nose.

“You’re not going to go back to your previous life, are you?” she cried.

Magdalene shook her head.

“No. Those seven demons aren’t there anymore. Your son cast them out.”

“Then what will you do?”

“I don’t know. Let the village try to stone me again? I can stay with you and John.”

Magdalene cackled in her rough, hoarse laugh.

“Don’t be funny,” Mother Mary said. “This is no time for jokes.”

Magdalene lowered her head. She wiped away a tear from her gnarled hand.

“Your son was more than any ordinary man I ever met. I’ll never get over losing him.”

“He had to die. Ever since he was a child, he had to die. I knew it would happen all along. I’ve known it for 33 years. His brothers and sisters couldn’t talk sense into him to give up his preaching and miracles. We must trust God.”

Magdalene placed the urn over her shoulder.

“Enough of this.” She sighed. “Let’s go see about his body.”


The gardener was at his work at this time in the morning. The two Marys ignored him as they entered the graveyard’s ornate gate. They stopped in unison to look around them.

“Joseph told us where to go from here,” Mother Mary said.

“Did you pay attention to what he said?” Magdalene asked, glancing over her shoulder to see the gardener. “Should we ask him?” She gestured to the man as he knelt to pull out weeds from a scarlet rose bush.

“I may be old, but my mind is still good.” Mother Mary said. They both walked along the winding stone path towards the religious leader’s tomb.

“It was good of him to let us use his newly carved tomb.” Magdalene said, with a tearful catch in her voice. “I was so scared that the authorities would bury him in the potter’s field.”

“Where do they bury criminals?” Mother Mary asked.

“The Romans just leave them on the crosses,” Magdalene winced at the thought. “It was a good thing Joseph came along and gave us his tomb.”

They came up to the building and stepped down its stairs, which led to the door. Mother Mary went first, since she was the shortest of the two. When her eyes became accustomed to the tomb’s darkness, her mouth fell open.

Both Marys came face to face with folded grave clothes where their beloved deceased once lay. Magdalene dropped her jar of burial spices and fled in the direction of the gardener.

She didn’t look up at him when she reached out to shake him.

“Please,” she panted, “Where have they taken the body?”

“Mary,” the gardener said. “It’s me,”

“Jesus!” she stared into his face.

Linda Barrett has always been a writer. Her work has been published in on-line and print publications. She features her poems on church newsletters and in secular magazine. She wants to put her work for Christian publications. She lives in Abington, PA., a small town not too far from Philadelphia.

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