Friday, 24th Week in Ordinary Time
“Accompanying him were… some women.”
St. Luke notes that as Jesus journeys from one town and village to another to preach the gospel, he is accompanied by his inner circle of disciples: the Twelve whom he himself chose. This is to be expected. What is surprising is that they are also accompanied by a group of women from Galilee.
Women then were allowed to hear the word of God in the synagogue, but they were never disciples of a rabbi unless their husband was a rabbi and was willing to teach them. Yet, Jesus intends that his ministry of teaching and healing also benefits women. He teaches Mary, the sister of Martha (Luke 10:39), and heals Mary Magdalene of seven demons.
Luke’s depiction of the participation of women in Jesus’ ministry is a reflection of the life of the Christian community in his own time. The Evangelist is teaching that women are equally called to be disciples and witnesses as the gospel is preached throughout the world. The women from Galilee would anticipate the likes of Tabitha, completely occupied with good deeds and almsgiving (Acts 9:36), Lydia, who welcomes Paul and Barnabas (Acts 16: 15), and Priscilla, who along with her husband Aquila, is a missionary collaborator of Paul (Acts 18:2). Moreover, in Paul’s circle we find remarkable women like Phoebe, a deacon at Cenchreae (Romans 16:1), Chloe, host of the church in Corinth (1 Corinthians 1:11), Mary, Persis, Julia, and other women of Rome (Romans 15:6-17).
This gospel passage must impress upon us Jesus’ attitude towards the Kingdom. His view of that Kingdom does not exclude women from participating. Women are an integral part of his ministry, not just as beneficiaries but as collaborators. So, all are involved in the proclamation of the Good News – men and women, married and celibate, healthy and sick.
Our gifts and talents are not purely personal attainments. Rather, they are the patrimony of the Christian community. No matter the gender, economic standing, or marital status of such people, our gifts and talents are intended to enrich Jesus’ family and to support his ministry. So, my dear friends, let us use everything God has given us in serving our Christian community and in working for the common good.