Saint Mary Magdalene and the Red Egg


After Jesus rose from the dead, and after His Ascension into Heaven, Mary of Magdala traveled about the country. She proclaimed the Gospel to all she met, eagerly sharing the news, “Christ is risen!” Arriving in Rome, she sought an audience with Tiberius Caesar, intending to complain about the treatment of the people of Judea under the governance of Pontius Pilate.

Mary came from a wealthy and influential family. And so Tiberius granted her request for an audience. It was customary at the time to bring  a gift to the emperor under these circumstances, each according to her means. Mary knelt before Caesar and held our her gift, a snow white egg.

“Christ is risen!” she said.

Tiberius knew of the events surrounding the death of Jesus. He was slightly amused as he listened to Mary.

“My child,” he said to her,  “how can a man rise from the dead? That is no more possible than it is for the egg you hold to turn bright scarlet.” Before he uttered the last word he watched in awe as the egg Mary held turned a bright red.

“Christ is risen,” she said again. “New life rising from a sealed tomb, just as new life rises from a sealed egg.”

With such miraculous evidence, Caesar could no longer dismiss the stories he heard. And so he listened as Mary recounted the many abuses of Pilate and his soldiers, all performed in the name of Caesar. In response, Caesar reassigned the governor to Vienne. Tradition tells us that Pilate died an unpleasant death.

For this reason, from that day to this, Christians have marked the Resurrection by giving each other brightly colored eggs, a symbol of new life rising from a sealed tomb.

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