Catholic Prayers for the New Evangelization

"Catholic Prayers for the New Evangelization"

Check out the revised edition of this exciting and unique prayer book, filled with prayers that are sure to nourish the soul as we undertake the New Evangelization.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Reflection #6: Friday

Friday of the Nineteenth Week of the Year
22 September 2006

Luke 8: 1-3

Today’s Gospel story is one of several examples, which illustrate the role of women in the life and teachings of Jesus. For Jesus, women were valued highly and had an essential place in His ministry. In contrast to the customs of the Jewish world, and those of Roman society, which often regarded women as second-class citizens, Jesus embraced them as God’s beloved creatures. While He presents a challenge to the culture of His time, Jesus reminds us that God has never embraced the customs of men but has loved unconditionally every person He has created.
Jesus shows how valuable women are to him by recognizing and affirming their dignity as persons. He does not judge as humans do. He sees in women the same dignity present in every person. He spoke to women freely in public, and did so in a caring, thoughtful way. Yet, He also loved them enough to challenge them, and to hold them responsible for their sins, as He does with every person.
Jesus also demonstrates the value He places on women by not hesitating to minister to them. He meets their physical needs, as well as their spiritual longings. He healed them, forgave their sins, and listened to them with compassion. This is seen in several examples, including the story of the Samaritan woman at the well.
Finally, Jesus shows how He values women by giving them a place in His ministry. We see this in today’s reading from Luke’s Gospel. In addition to their place in the work of Jesus and the Apostles, Jesus employed women as illustrations in His teachings, and in many of the parables. He did not hesitate to teach the Gospel to women, and to include them in his great mission of salvation. They not only provided essential services as part of the work of the early Church but undoubtedly offered a wisdom that only women can, because of the unique way in which God created them.
In addition to all this, it is important to recall that, when all the Disciples except John fled in fear, it was the faithful women who stood at the foot of the Cross. And it was women who first witnessed the empty tomb and the risen Christ, and brought the joyful news of the Resurrection to the Apostles. They began the mission of the Church to proclaim the salvation won by Christ to all the nations.
And most importantly of all, we must remember Mary, whose love and trust made it possible for the Son of God to become incarnate among men.
The Gospel writers clearly proclaim that, while Jesus did not chose women to be Apostles, He opened His life to women, loved them, responded to their needs, and gave them an essential role in the life of His Church. So it is in the Church today. I am continually inspired by the heroic witness of many Christian wives and mothers, by holy and dedicated women religious, and by the valuable service and wisdom women offer to the Church in numerous ways. Just as Jesus’ ministry would not have been the same without the women who accompanied Him, so the Church depends on their contributions today.
Authentic discipleship knows no human bounds. Men and women alike are called to proclaim Christ’s truth and His love to the whole world. The women of the Church today can find the same fulfillment in serving Christ as did Martha and Johanna and Susanna of old.

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