Friday, 24th Week in Ordinary Time        

            “Accompanying him were…some women.”

            There was an old shoemaker who once had wished to become a priest. But the way had never opened up for him. He was a friend of young student who studied for priesthood. He supported him from his meager income.

            When the young priest was given his first assignment of a parish church, the old shoemaker asked him to grant him a favor. He asked to be allowed always to make his shoes so that he might feel the preacher was wearing his shoes in that pulpit into which he could never go himself.

            Today’s gospel tells us that as Jesus preached to various places, he was accompanied by the apostles and “some women.” These women provided for Jesus and his disciples out of their own resources. Rejecting the usual rabbinical practice of not having women followers, Jesus associated these women with his disciples.

            This gospel passage must impress upon us Jesus’ attitude towards the Kingdom. His view of that Kingdom does not exclude women from participating. All are involved in the proclamation of the Good News – men and women, married and celibate, healthy and sick.

            People’s gifts and talents are not purely personal attainments. Rather, they are the patrimony of the community. No matter the gender, economic standing or marital status of such people, their gifts and talents are intended to enrich Jesus’ family and to support his ministry.

            William Barclay concludes his commentary and reflection on this gospel passage by saying: “It is not always the person in the foreground who is doing the greatest work.” “Many who occupy public positions could not sustain their place for one week without support from home!” “There is no gift which cannot be used in the service of Christ.” “Many of his greatest servants are in the background, unseen but essential to his cause.”

            We need more Mary Magdalenes, Joannas and Susanas today – people who will willingly play the supporting roles….people who will use everything God has given them in serving our Christian community and working for the common good. We should always remember these words: “What matters is not doing extraordinary things; but doing ordinary things extraordinarily.”

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