Gospel Reflection – Friday (22 September) – 24th week of Ordinary Time – Women disciples of Jesus
Fr Paul reads from the Gospel of Luke (8: 1-3) which tells of the women who were among the disciples of Jesus. Fr Paul says the largely Semitic world of Mark, Matthew and John has little room for women in other than domestic roles. All this changes when Luke and Paul come into consideration. In Luke, although the domestic situation remains the same, the thoughts and feelings of women are brought into due prominence: Mary’s dialogue with the angelic messenger – Elizabeth’s greeting to Mary and Mary’s reply with the Magnificat – the very mention of Anna praising God in the Temple – Mary treasuring and pondering events in her heart – the fretting of Martha and Mary. Then in Paul women such as Chloe, Phoebe, Junia and Priscilla take a significant part in spreading the Gospel, as well as hosting the meetings of the Christian in assemblies in Rome. The first Christian of Europe, Lydia, deserves her place in the Acts, as well as the husband-and-wife pair of catechists in Corinth and Rome. Against this background we should not think of the women mentioned here as simply a support-party on the journey. We know little about women travelling at this time, but Paul chose Phoebe to carry Paul’s letter to the Romans from Corinth (Romans 16.1) and Mary of Magdala was to be the first witness to the Resurrection. Luke surely included them not only for their generosity but also for their part in the apostolate. Today, Fr Paul says, we celebrate and pray for all the women in our lives and in our church for all that they are and do.