The Young Man at the Tomb Holding Fast to Each Other Amen to What We Are The Lord, Our Justice Claiming Our True Name What We Expect The Comma Keeping the Demons Quiet The Dove in the Heavens Thankfulness and Generosity Speaking to Jesus A Promise to Simeon and Us A Sign for You The Voice in the Wilderness How Annunciations Work The Least, the Lost, and the Last Waiting for Christ’s Return Attire for the Kingdom The Cross in a Violent World Come to the Banquet Today Anointing of the Sick Finding the Eternal Change and Continuity Paying Attention The First and the Last Using Bad Consequences How to Talk to God Ready to Forgive Facing the Serpent Priority and Mutuality Three Meals a Day Searching for Pearls The Power of Service Why Walk on Water? The Day Jesus Was Wrong The Promise of the New Name The Two Feet of Love Facing the Hour Looking Backwards Touching the Leper Touching the Leper Misunderstanding God Doing It Poorly God’s Midwife A Name for the Holy Spirit The Coffin So We Do Not Have to Touch Being Better to Each Other Earthquakes and Galilee Lazarus as a Disciple Seeing More Learning from Peter Imitating God’s Holiness Weekly Bulletin 3/2/14 Imitating God’s Holiness Weekly Bulletin 3/9/14 Choosing a Master Goodness in Temptation A Pinch of Salt Teaching the Commandments The Freedom of the Baptist Christ’s Broken Body Faith Is More than Looking The Twelve Days of Christmas God’s Timing Resurrection and Transformation The Good That Is Gone Zacchaeus Moments God in the Smallest Things Trust and Community When God’s Commands Do Not Fit The Faith of Honeybees Choosing Hell Following the Dishonest Steward The Ninety-Nine The Freedom to Let Go Beyond Politics The Balance of Humility Not Fearing Fire The Beauty Remains To Welcome as a Samaritan A Moveable Peace Bring On the Women! The Two Sides of Bread Waiting for the Ticket The Groove of the Spirit Jesus Is Not Like Congress A Divine Partnership What Kind of Love Is This? Boston Bombings and God Fishing and Forgiveness A New Kind of Joy Letting Christ Out The Sign of Inversion Our Doodling God A Parable of Love and Jealousy Not Enough Time The Ordinary and the Transcendent The Battle with the Devil God Is Not Kidding The Power of Love We Are the Body of Christ The Arc of Life Waiting for the Final Gift Displacement at Christmas Incarnating God Presenting the Mess Red Cake and Lima Beans A Call to Serve Beyond Asking Jesus’ Commandment Being Ready to Take God in the Foxhole God Is Still Working Adjusting What Is Necessary Learning from the Prophet Amos About Jesus’ Brothers The Most Popular Miracle The Importance of Hunger Eternal Life Influencing Others Finding the Right Proportion Do What You Love Stopping for the Least To Love Irritating People Marriage, Divorce, and Children Asking for More Drinking the Cup Terror in Paris God Will Come Boundaries, Security, and Generosity Feeling Movements of Life A Place to Learn God Uses Small Things Signs of Life When God Says No Christian Optimism From Transition to Call The Long Struggle The Gate of Heaven Common Sense or Hope The Spoiled Son An Oasis for Everyone Jesus’ Last Meal The Curious Omission Finding a Pony Anointing of the Sick A New Commandment After the Ascension Sin and Love The Cross and Joy The Call to Follow A Call for Humility Violence in America Two Thoughts on Prayer Live Today with Thanksgiving An Examined Life The Narrow Gate Serving Ourselves Losing Sheep Using Dishonest Wealth The Door and the Chasm Faith and Duty Distance and More Not Growing Weary Making a Difference Inadequacies and Grace Finding God Facing Turmoil Jesus, Remember Me The Lion and the Lamb Wild Like John Let Go in Love A Wider Christmas The Last Six Miles God’s Big Plan The Remnant The Salt of the Earth Beyond the Ten Commandments Love Your Enemy Focusing Our Worry How Evil Works Our Transfiguration Re-membering Our Lives Our Story If Only The Time for Hope A Second Greeting of Peace The Eucharist and Welcoming Practicing Non-Violence The Work of Forgiveness Why Are You Looking Up at the Sky? The Mystery of Salvation Being Thankful How Is a Burden Light? The Problem with Sparrows Eternal Creation Patient Vigilance Buried Treasure Thinking Again Where You Do Not Want to Go The Courage to Speak Humility and Truth Do Something Good Knowing the Song Acting Against Evil God Will Come What We Can Say Senseless Violence Invitation as a Threat What Belongs to God Two Commands, Side by Side Burdens We May Not See Foolish or Wise Accepting the Consequences Serving the Least Watching for Jesus Camels and Gnats Becoming Smaller The Christmas Barber The Ring of the Kings The Freedom and Faith of John the Baptist Zebedee The Opioid Crisis Approaching, Grasping, Lifting Up What God Intends The Battle with Satan Following Elijah and Moses Standing in Truth A God of Love or Condemnation When Life Turns Not Fully Prepared The Wounds We Carry Selling Onions Son of Encouragement To Love as God Loves Engagement with the World Doubting Disciples Sabbath Avoiding the Diabolical Persistent Hope Speaking the Word Within Us “And Also With You” Capital Punishment I Will Go On Three Wise Choices Will You Also Leave? Show No Partiality Carrying the Cross for Whom? Outside the Lines The Camel and the Needle Ask First for Sight What God Sees Only God The Arc of the Universe Turmoil, Fear, and Dismay The Gift of the Desert A Punch for the Holidays Politics and Religion Jesus Always Understands One Body God’s Love The Call Blessings and Woes Imitating God’s Mercy The Blind Leading the Blind The Devil’s Agenda Looking Closer, Looking Beyond Accepting God’s Love Mob Thinking The Easter Egg Fishing with Uncle Mike Loving Like Jesus God’s in Love with This World

Bring On the Women!

Father George Smiga
June 16, 2013
Gospel: Luke 7:36-8:3

There are more women than men in today’s gospel, and that is unusual. The culture in which Jesus lived was male dominated. Both politically and religiously, men were in charge. After Jesus’ death and resurrection, the New Testament was written by men from a male perspective. So the presence of so many women within today’s gospel is significant.

The gospel begins with two men, Jesus and Simon the Pharisee, dining at Simon’s house. Then the first woman enters. She is a public sinner and she bathes Jesus’ feet with her tears in repentance. Jesus proclaims her forgiveness. Jesus action towards this woman is not unusual in the gospels. During his ministry he forgave many sinners both men and women. It is logical that the evangelists would preserve these stories to affirm that Jesus had a clear commitment to the marginalized and the sinful.

But it is the women who come into the story next who are striking. There are three of them and they are mentioned by name: Mary Magdalene, Joanna and Susanna. These women are not public sinners. They are disciples. The gospel tells us that they traveled with Jesus and supported him through their resources.

Now there are several places in the New Testament where we find a listing of the names of Jesus’ male disciples. But it is in this passage that we discover the list of his female disciples. The list reveals to us that these women were very important. They were so important that their names could not be left out, even though the male writers of the New Testament were not naturally inclined to include them. This list of female disciples verifies for us that the community that followed Jesus throughout his ministry in Galilee and Jerusalem was a community of both men and women, a community in which women played an equal role with men in supporting Jesus’ mission.

So since there are so many women in today’s Gospel, it would be useful for us to ask what do they tell us about being disciples. What qualities do they demonstrate which can help us follow Jesus? I would suggest to you there are two: courage that flows from love and generosity that flows from commitment.

The woman who approached Jesus in Simon’s house had courage. Jesus did not know her. Yet she risked approaching him in a public space and ministering to him. She knew there was a possibility for Jesus to turn her aside and reject her. Her action demanded courage. But she found that courage from her love—the love that she had for Jesus in the goodness that she could see in him, the love she had for herself in what she might become were she to find forgiveness. This woman found courage from her love, the courage to act.

Where do we need courage with the people we love? Do we need courage to say to our spouse, “You know, it’s not working. Something needs to change.” Do we need courage to say to a friend that their misuse of alcohol or drugs is hurting and even destroying him or her? Do we need the courage to say to some member of our family, “Your constant words of criticism and prejudice are unacceptable. They need to stop.” It is not easy to speak the truth to those we love. But if we follow the example of the nameless woman who anoints Jesus’ feet, we will draw from our love to find the courage to act.

But courage is not the only example that we see in today’s Gospel. Mary Magdalene, Joanna and Susanna give the example of generosity that flows from commitment. The gospel is very clear that these women supported Jesus’ ministry through their presence and financial offerings. (I could add that there is no place in the New Testament where men disciples are said to support Jesus through their financial offerings!) What makes these women so generous? They are committed to Jesus’ mission. These are women who heard Jesus preach, who understood the gospel and accepted it. They wanted it to succeed. So they did not simply accept it in their hearts and pray about it. They generously chose to offer themselves and their resources in Jesus’ service.

What in our lives are we are committed to, in what do we believe? Do we allow our commitment and belief to lead us to generosity? We believe in our children. Are we generous with our presence and our time to make sure that they know our wisdom and our love? Perhaps we belong to some group that is important to us. Are we generous with our time to mentor younger members so that they can carry on once we are gone? Perhaps we are committed to a better world. Does that commitment translate into the generosity of helping the homeless and the sick, of protecting the environment?

The women in today’s gospel are not idle. They come to us with a courage that flows from love and a generosity that flows from commitment. Since women seldom hold center stage in the gospel stories, today should be the day when all of us, men and women, recognize the witness of Jesus’ female disciples and follow their example in our lives.

Change this in Theme Options
Change this in Theme Options