These are the duties you are to 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.
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 concern to show them as active disciples, Luke's Gospel is sometimes called The Gospel of Women. Today's summary of the ministry is idyllic, like a glorious tour when Jesus is winning everyone for the kingdom of God. The community of disciples around him, including the apostles and a group of apostolic women, impress us with their serene harmony of life. Some 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 Jesus had brought her. God's final triumph is already anticipated by Luke, who gives women an honoured place in this peaceful scene. Again typical of Luke, the names of influential public figures are introduced, such as the mention that Johanna was the wife of Herod's steward, Chuza, Somehow, the political and the spiritual Kingdom can come graciously together. Luke is already anticipating the outcome of the cross, redemption, when there will no longer be distinction of male and female, Jew or Greek (Gal 3:28).
The message to Timothy comes to our help with its message of calm and self-restraint. If we have completed a stretch of busy achievement, it may be time to review our situation. We need to interrelate activity and calm, to take stock where we have gone, to realize the scope of what we have done and who we are. Perhaps, most of all we may need a time of silence, prayer and awareness of the Lord's presence.
We honour Jesus as the servant of all, who said that he came not to be served but to serve. Yet even Jesus needed to be served at times. He was dependent at times on the service that others gave him. Today's gospel draws attention to the ways that some women served him. 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 was in need of the service of others at times, we his followers certainly are. We are called to serve, but we are also called to receive the service of others, because we need their service. Serving others calls for generosity; allowing ourselves to be served by others calls for humility, the recognition that we are limited and that others can bring to us what we do not have within ourselves. As Paul saw so clearly, 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 the service of others and others need our service. We all have something to give and something to receive. Today's gospel encourages us to be open to receive the service of the Lord as it comes to us in and through those who journey with us and cross our path in life.