These are the duties you must teach and urge the community to follow. Whoever teaches otherwise and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that is in accordance with godliness, is conceited, understanding nothing, and has a morbid craving for controversy and for disputes about words. From these come envy, dissension, slander, base suspicions, and wrangling among those who are depraved in mind and bereft of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain. Of course, there is great gain in godliness combined with contentment; for we brought nothing into the world, so that we can take nothing out of it; but if we have food and clothing, we will be content with these. But those who want to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and in their eagerness to be rich some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains.
But as for you, man of God, shun all this; pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith; take hold of the eternal life, to which you were called and for which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
Why should I fear in evil days
the malice of the foes who surround me,
men who trust in their wealth,
and boast of the vastness of their riches? (R./)
For no man can buy his own ransom,
or pay a price to God for his life.
The ransom of his soul is beyond him.
He cannot buy life without end,
nor avoid coming to the grave. (R./)
Then do not fear when a man grows rich,
when the glory of his house increases.
He takes nothing with him when he dies,
his glory does not follow him below. (R./)
Though he flattered himself while he lived:
'Men will praise me for doing well for myself.'
Yet he will go to join his fathers,
who will never see the light any more.
Jesus went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. The twelve were with him, as well as some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Herod's steward Chuza, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their resources.
Because of his obviously high regard for women, Luke’s Gospel is sometimes called The Gospel of Women. Today’s summary of the Lord’s ministry is idyllic, like a glorious lap of honour when Jesus was winning everyone for the kingdom of God. The disciples around him, including the apostles and a group of apostolic women, impress us with their serene harmony of life. They are a model of how Christian community should be lived.
Some of this group had been cured of illness or physical handicap. The seven devils purged from Mary Magdalene do not necessarily mean sinfulness, much less demonic possession, but suggest a deep change in her life. Luke gives women an honoured place in this peaceful scene. He mentions the names of some prominent women in the circle around Jesus, noting that Johanna was the wife of Herod’s steward, Chuza. Luke anticipates the outcome of the cross, redemption, when there will no longer be distinction between male and female, slave and free, Jew and Greek, but all will be united in Christ (Gal 3:28).
Jesus called himself the servant of all, who came not to be served but to serve. Yet even Jesus at times needed the service of others, and was grateful for the help that others gave him. Today’s gospel draws attention to the ways he was helped by a number of women who supported his cause. Luke states that, as Jesus made his way through towns and villages preaching, several women provided for him out of their own resources. Their service of him enabled him to serve others.
If Jesus needed the help of others, we also need it. We are called to serve, but also to accept the service of others, because we really need their help. Anyone who has undergone surgery knows of the invaluable help of doctors and nurses. Serving others calls for generosity. Letting ourselves be served calls for humility. As Saint Paul taught, within the church, the body of Christ, we are all interdependent. The Spirit is at work in all our lives in different ways. We need others and others need us. We all have something worthwhile to give and something to receive. Let’s be grateful to those who journey with us and who help us through life.