Ss Cornelius, Pope & Cyprian, bishop
24th Week in Ordinary Time (B) : Friday 17th September 2021
1 Tim. 6:2c-12; Ps. 48:6-7,8-10,17-18,19-20;
Lk. 8:1-3 (Ps Wk IV)
Among the several women mentioned by Luke in this short passage (Lk.8:1-3), we may feel that Mary Magdalene is the one best known to us. Though her name is very familiar to us, there is very little that we really do know about her, especially as she is often confused with the sinful woman who washed Jesus’ feet with her tears (Lk 7) and with Mary of Bethany, sister of Martha and Lazarus.
One extremely important thing we do know of her is that she was the first of the group of Jesus’ followers to see the Risen Jesus. He had “cast seven devils out of her”, and that is often most likely erroneously taken to mean she was a prostitute and a great sinner; it may just mean some physical deformity or psychological condition that Jesus healed her from.
We are also reminded that the women who travelled with Jesus (Mary of Magdala, Joanna and Susanna, etc.) provided for Jesus and those who travelled with him out of their own resources. Sharing their resources with others was a means for God’s presence to be more fully experienced by the people in Jesus.
Are we seeing in these women the beginning of the new People of God’s “diakonia”? Such service was not formally mentioned in Jewish Law or found in widespread Jewish practice, so there is something revolutionary here. When the diaconate is formalised in the newborn Church (Acts 6:1-6), the men are in question, but we can see it already alive and well in these women’s lives.
Saint Mary Magdalene intercede that we may be very devoted to Jesus, our Lord and Saviour.