Gospel Reflection 17 September 2021

17 September 2021

Luke 8:1-3

“Soon afterward, Jesus traveled from one town and village to another, preaching and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with Him, as well as some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, Joanna the wife of Herod’s household manager Chuza, Susanna, and many others. These women were ministering to them out of their own means.”

This is the Gospel of Christ.

There are two things that I’d like to highlight today from this short text. The first is that Jesus went out into the world, he met people where they were, he took an interest in their lives. One thing that we need to realise as we read scripture is that the actual events took longer than it takes us to read them. It is easy to get into a way of reading scripture that makes the text a blow by blow literal narrative and as if the only words Jesus ever spoke were the words recorded. As we read scripture, we see that Jesus spent a lot of time interacting with people, listening to their stories, caring for people.  And I imagine that those around him did the same. This large group of at least 12 men and an untold number of women, would have interacted with people and told stories of their experience and shared their knowledge of and hope in Jesus. So, this scene tells us a lot about the nature of discipleship. We all have a role to play in sharing the Gospel. Our following of Jesus should be noticeable and draw others to Jesus. There would have been times when there was general chatter of a crowd of followers and times where they would have stopped and listened to Jesus, he would have led them in the daily prayers, he would have taught them from the scriptures and they all would have shared with others, around the cooking pots and when collecting water. I can imagine the unwritten stories every time the women went to a well. “ Ah, I remember the time, and the story of the Syro -Phoenician women would have been told and retold.” This is the task of the Disciple, to as the APB put it, “speak about the Jesus that we know.”

Secondly, the text tells us that they cared for their needs, out of their own means. As a Disciple, we have a responsibility to God to make the work of the Church possible by providing its needs. Jesus lived a simple life, but his ministry had financial and practical backing provided for by the disciples. ‘These women were ministering to them out of their own means.’ (Luke 8:3b). People in the places he visited would have provided lodging and the Disciples would have been a logistics team. Again, think about the conversations that would have been held around arranging a place to sleep every night; the people would have asked “who is he, why is he here?” – and the Gospel would be preached.

As a Priest, I am so grateful to God for the people that minister out of their own means to make the ministry of the Church possible and to provide me with a living to set myself aside and focus on ministry. For a priest, it is a great privilege to be supported by a community to do the work of God. To lead the people in prayer and to teach the scriptures, to go into the village and interact with the world. A privilege that I take seriously and which I respect the disciples of Jesus for.

I pray that this scene will remind us all, about the true nature of the Church. May we all recommit to being the Church based on this model that Jesus used.

Just a final thought, note that the women were a crucial part of the ministry. They also like true Deacons, interpreted the needs of the world to Jesus. There was two- way conversation, they would bring people to Jesus, they would share with the Disciples what they heard about the people in the place that they were visiting.  I am sure that they would have continued to interact after a healing or another encounter with Jesus – reflecting on what he had said and done. We are the Church, we are Disciples of Jesus and Scripture, when we truly read to understand tells us just what to do and how to do it.

Let us pray.

Lord God lead us your disciples as you go out into the world and bring hope and healing. Strengthen us to be hospitable and to draw others to you for you to be welcomed into their lives. Make our conversations holy, that you may be welcomed into the lives of all whom we meet. Today, we commit ourselves afresh to being disciples, to the glory of your name. Amen

One thought on “Gospel Reflection 17 September 2021

  1. Thank you Fr Andrew for always being there for me. A constant I can depend, even in this dry land we find ourselves in bcs of covid. There are streams in the desert thanks be to God.

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