SEPTEMBER 17. Ord Time B. Wk 24. Fri. Lk 8.1-3
Jesus made his way through towns and villages preaching, and proclaiming the Good News of the kingdom of God. With him went the Twelve, as well as certain women who had been cured of evil spirits and ailments: Mary surnamed the Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, Joanna the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, Susanna, and several others who provided for them out of their own resources.
One important aspect of Jesus life while among us; - that is easy to overlook; - is the fact he became a man in order to teach; - a point today’s reading focuses on.
“Jesus made his way through towns and villages preaching, and proclaiming the Good News of the kingdom of God”; - the goal of “preaching and proclaiming” being to educate, to promote, and to teach.
Certainly, the future Apostles were with Jesus in order to learn, as he had invited them to come with him to “become fishers of men”. Worthy of note also is they had “left everything” in order to follow Jesus; - so their discipleship was not something they entered into lightly, as it involved significant personal sacrifice.
Then, besides the apostles; - we find a group who we are told had been “cured of evil spirits and ailments”; - which indicates they were not people who would normally be considered as belonging in Jesus’ company; - but this often seems to be characteristic of those whom Jesus calls.
In this regard we only have to look at St Paul; - one of the greatest teachers of Christianity of all time; - who spent much of his life persecuting, and even executing Christians. It seems Christ likes to go out of his way to “call” sinners; - with Mary Magdalene being mentioned in today’s reading; - “from whom seven demons had gone out!”
We are told these women, who had been cured of evil spirits, “provided for Jesus and his followers from their own resources”; - so here again we find those who are close to the teacher, were not there to be provided or cared for; - but rather they were providing what Jesus needed from their own resources.
And it is worth noting this is indicative of what Jesus is looking for from all Christians even today; - that we contribute to the growth of the Church via our own lives, abilities and prayers because, as baptised Christians, we are all members of his Mystical Body; - the Church.
The Church was established to provide for the needs of Christians, via its teachings, its sacraments, its liturgy, and to be a source of divine grace; - but its members are expected to then imitate Jesus in working for the growth of the Church; - rather than simply being people who access its gifts.
And it is here, in particular, that our sufferings have great value. Yesterday we heard of Mary standing by the Cross of her Son; - this is something that we too are called on to do; - in the sense that just as Christ suffered in atonement for the sins of men.
Sadly, many of us want to receive the many gifts made available to us via the Church, but we give much effort to avoiding suffering; - rather than embracing it; - in imitation of Christ?
Gospel Acclamation cf.Mt11:25
Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth;
you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the kingdom.
First reading 1 Timothy 6:2-12
We brought nothing into the world and can take nothing out of it
This is what you are to teach the brothers to believe and persuade them to do. Anyone who teaches anything different, and does not keep to the sound teaching which is that of our Lord Jesus Christ, the doctrine which is in accordance with true religion, is simply ignorant and must be full of self-conceit – with a craze for questioning everything and arguing about words. All that can come of this is jealousy, contention, abuse and wicked mistrust of one another; and unending disputes by people who are neither rational nor informed and imagine that religion is a way of making a profit. Religion, of course, does bring large profits, but only to those who are content with what they have. We brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it; but as long as we have food and clothing, let us be content with that. People who long to be rich are a prey to temptation; they get trapped into all sorts of foolish and dangerous ambitions which eventually plunge them into ruin and destruction. ‘The love of money is the root of all evils’ and there are some who, pursuing it, have wandered away from the faith, and so given their souls any number of fatal wounds.
But, as a man dedicated to God, you must avoid all that. You must aim to be saintly and religious, filled with faith and love, patient and gentle. Fight the good fight of the faith and win for yourself the eternal life to which you were called when you made your profession and spoke up for the truth in front of many witnesses.