Dear Fathers and Friends in Christ
1 Corinthians 15:12-20
Psalm 17:1bcd, 6-7, 8b and 15
Jesus’ entourage must have been a colourful group: not only men, but also women. This was unheard of in the culture of first-century Palestinian Judaism!
Besides the Twelve Apostles, St. Luke lists other followers in today's gospel as including "some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities." (Luke 8:2). Then he goes on to name a few of them:
"Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out; Joanna, the wife of Herod's steward Chuza; Susanna, and many others who provided for them out of their resources."
Mary Magdalene we know about, but what had happened to Joanna and Susanna? What 'infirmities' had Jesus cured in them? Luke doesn't tell us, but they had become faithful followers, significant enough that he mentioned them by name.
The women named, and Jesus' other female disciples as well, must have been strong women. Strong enough to withstand the prejudice of that time against women disciples. They must have been laughed at and disdained, perhaps made the butt of nasty jokes. But they withstood it. Yes, and also they were strong enough to stand up to the physical rigors of travel, most likely on foot. Can you imagine trudging mile after mile down dusty roads, under broiling sun, pestered by insects, and surrounded by other hot, sweaty men and women? But they did it.
They were able to keep going because Jesus was in the lead, and His magnetism and personality, His love and protection were so powerful and consistent that they were drawn to Him like metal filings to a magnet.
Today, we too are still drawn to His truth and beauty, His divine mercy and love, all wrapped up in the God-Man package that is our Lord and Savior! Jesus Christ attracted followers yesterday - and He still attracts us today, men and women alike!
May we all follow Him down the dusty roads and byways of this Twenty-first Century, wherever He leads us. As long as we faithfully follow His lead and ask Him for strength, we will have the grace to keep going, just as the women and men who were His disciples did some 2,000 years or so ago.
Jesus, You are so worth following! I
Help me today, O Lord, to follow You more closely,
no matter what hardships I may encounter along the way.
I ask this in Your holy name, Lord Jesus. Amen.
Father Ed Bakker