Joanna and Susanna – and Mary and Mary

Joanna and Susanna – and Mary and Mary September 17, 2022

Women and the Risen Lord

(Image by Pixabay  – dodo71)

The Good News for the Day, September 16, 2022

Friday of the 24th Week of Ordinary Time (495)

The Gospel

Jesus would go around from one town and village to another, preaching and proclaiming the Good News—the Realm of what is Right.

The Presence of Specific Women

Accompanying him were the Twelve and women who had been cured of  afflictions and medical infirmities.

These included Mary (from Magdala) from whom a full complement of demons had gone. And there was Joanna, the wife of Herod’s high-ranking minister, Chuza. Susanna, as well, and any number of others provided for them out of their resources. (Luke 8)

Reflections of the Word of Jesus

Over the past century, Roman Catholicism prominently, and some Protestant denominations. have been discussing and debating the role of women in the clergy. Here we find specific women remembered decades later for their “following” role. Prayer suggests some reflections on the matter.

By the time the Evangelist wrote this gospel, decades had passed. These specific women surfaced.  Luke includes them  from the memories of the community for their presence and importance during the life of Jesus.

One of them reappears significantly – Mary of Magdala. On the morning of Resurrection, she is specifically named as the one who tells the apostles about the risen Christ. Every Evangelist records this.

Luke mentions Joanna again, too. She is with Mary, the mother of Jesus, and Mary of Magdala leading the women with the spices for the corpse of Jesus. They tell the apostles, “He is risen!” (The men, with some irony of course, Luke mentions, did not believe the women.)

An Inspiration from These Women

I find inspiration, a sense of kinship among the frustration of these women. In some ways, you and I are like these women today. We are not the preachers and churches and on TV. We support humble churches and parishes.
By our lives, we stay near Jesus, and are trying to tell people about the living Jesus. When reaching out to indifference, disbelief, and dismissal, we often find ourselves like second-class citizenship among Christian leaders. They are significant in a small, not large, way. But our lives present the living presence of Jesus.

Jesus Is Not Dead

Today many people of faith choose to believe in a dead Jesus. They seem to see only a historical figure left over from childhood. Listening to the religion on the radio sometimes, I hear religious folks push Bible words around. They use Bible talk, ask for money, and, offer comforting advice and uncomfortable doctrines. But I rarely hear them talk as though Jesus is alive today.

These women believed Jesus was – and, far more significant, IS – alive after he died. Women, in their world, and perhaps in ours, bring Jesus into the world and make people reborn in ways that the established church seems to be neglecting.

The Importance Here

Followers of Jesus – you and I – are humble enough to listen to all “second-class believers,” sharing the life of Christ in community. The letter to the Hebrews causes a priestly people and does not distinguish men and women. Among us non-clergy, both men and women acknowledge Jesus alive in truthful, personal words, struggling and ambiguous faith, and open, authentic hearts.

Many of us would rather listen to captivating words of sophisticated male preachers. Too often, preachers preach what people want to hear rather than what we need to hear. More specifically, Listening to truthful heart felt messages of richly spiritual women requires a humility that we men too often lack.

Neglected Voices

Often, we neglect some of the quieter, less talented, and more authentic children of God. We may blind ourselves to truth that comes to us from sources we are reluctant to believe. We fail to recognize daily angels.

This passage reminds us of the significance of some specific women. They were important enough in the kingdom of God to name and be remembered. Let us remember them in their descendants among us – the women in the presence of Jesus.


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