Jesus journeyed from one town and village to another, preaching and proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom of God. Accompanying him were the Twelve and some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, Susanna, and many others who provided for them out of their resources. (Luke 8:1-3)
Today’s scripture is a snapshot of the daily life of Jesus Christ. Going from town-to-town healing and proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom of God.
Accompanying him were a number of women. Here only 3 were named. All of the women were the caretakers of the small group surrounding Jesus. They assured that the group travelled relatively free of material needs and their compassion inspired the group.
The three women named were as disparate as could be. Mary Magdalene had lived a troubled life but she was privileged to see Jesus as the risen lord. Joanna was the wife of King Herod’s chief financial officer (if you will). Under ordinary circumstances, they would never have met one another. But they and the other women were united in a bond of friendship, service, and loyalty to Jesus.
It was Jesus and his message of the kingdom of God that had transformed these women. Unlike the apostles, who took great pride in being the chosen twelve, these women did not seek position or demand special privileges. Jesus had touched them so deeply that they were grateful to be of service. They brought their gifts and resources to Jesus to use as he saw fit.
They came to serve just as Jesus did.
What about us? Isn’t there a message for us? It begins with recognizing that each of us had something to contribute. Each of us has a place at the Lord’s table. Each of us is loved by God. It does not matter from whence we came. It does not matter what our economic or social status was or is. We are called as we are to serve him by proclaiming his good news. We are called to recognize the common bind of his love. We are called to live his love and, in so doing, to honor his life and his death for us.
But too often we let the news of the day and the latest falsehood or conspiracy taint our thoughts and actions. Suddenly instead of being united by his love, we look for the divisions that set us apart. Instead of a language of love prompted by him who was love, we resort to crude incivility. Words are used to divide us. To cheapen us. To call out to the dark spots in our lives. To invite evil in where only love and goodness should prevail.
The measure of the authenticity of our love is measured by the kindness of our life. Where sadness prevails, we are called to bring joy. Where pain is dominant, we are asked to bring the salve to deaden the pain. Where coarse words become part of our daily existence, we are asked to rise above them, to call them out as divisive, to replace them with words of acceptance, respect and love.
We are called as we are to be more than we are.
Our privilege as children of God and disciples of Jesus is to serve as Jesus served with humility, selfless love, generosity, joy, and a willingness to do whatever God asks of us. God, in his turn, gives us every good gift and grace we need to carry out our task and mission.
God in his infinite power needs no one, but in his wisdom and love, he chooses to entrust his work through each one of us. His Holy Spirit equips us with all that we need to love and serve others. No one is unimportant or unnecessary in God’s economy. The least in his kingdom find a home and a mission at Jesus’ side. Do you know the joy of serving Jesus in company with others who love and serve him willingly?
Prayer of The Day
“Lord Jesus, set my heart on fire for you that I may give freely of the gifts, talents, and resources you give me, for your sake and for the work of the Gospel.”
Are you more like the status-conscious apostles who were concerned for their position, or like the women who were content to serve Jesus quietly and generously with their personal resources? In our fallen state, our natural tendency is to want to be served and placed first and to avoid giving too much of ourselves to the service of others. And besides, who really prefers to take the lowly place of a servant who puts the needs of others before their own needs? Jesus is our best example who “came not to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom” for us (Matthew 20:28). The Gospel honors these women who imitated Jesus in his selfless sacrificial love and humble service.