June 11, 2010


11th Sunday - C
Luke 7:36 - 8:3

Who Can Follow Jesus?

The list of people who "accompanied" Jesus in Luke 8: 1-3 includes "the Twelve and some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, Susanna, and many others."

The personal history of the Twelve is better known to modern readers. Each of them had a unique a past - like any other group of people. Some were common people. Some were more educated than others. At least one was a public enemy (Matthew). Some carried Jewish/Hebrew names, while others had Greek names. These twelve men were by no means identical or perfect.

So were the personal stories of the women. Luke made it a point to mention that they "had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities." There is the detail about Mary's struggles but nothing is mentioned about the other women. Joanna, considering her husband's position, must have been "a person of position and means." [1]

These men and women, each with a unique past, all have been called by Jesus. Their well-being and their calling are signs of "the power of God's kingdom in Jesus." [2] And they are now his followers. They will witness Jesus' life, his teaching and action as they journey with him "from one town and village to another, preaching and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God." (8:1)

These women will later witness Jesus' sacrifice of love at the cross (23:49). Mary and Joanna, in particular, with "the other women," will be the first messengers of Christ's resurrection. (24:10) [3]

Such is the life story of the first generation of Jesus' followers. What is my story as a follower?

[1] New Jerome Biblical Commentary. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prencite Hall, 1990, p. 697
[2] Ibid.
[3] Luke Timothy Johnson, The Gospel of Luke. Sacra Pagina Series, Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1991, p. 131.

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