20 September, 2013. Friday of the Twenty Fourth Week
1Tim 6:2ff. Exhortation to sound doctrine, integrity about wealth, gentleness, living one’s profession of faith.
Lk 8:1ff. Jesus journeyed with the twelve and the women, preaching the good news of the Kingdom of God.
First Reading: 1 Timothy 6:2-12
Those who have believing masters must not be disrespectful to them on the ground that they are members of the church; rather they must serve them all the more, since those who benefit by their service are believers and beloved.
Teach and urge these duties. 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.
Gospel: Luke 8:1-3
Soon afterwards he 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.
Enthusiastic or Sober?
Contrasting with the sober reading from Timothy, is the tone of enthusiasm, hope and achievement in today’s Gospel story. While the Gospel has more appeal, the other text also have its necessary place in church life. Sometimes we need to be sobered up from intense excitement.
Luke’s brief account mirrors the first springtime of Jesus’ apostolate. The scene is idyllic, that of a glorious tour in which the Lord is winning everyone for the kingdom. The community of disciples around him, the apostles, the women and “many others,” impress us with their serene way of life. Some of them had been cured of serious illness or physical handicap. The “seven devils” from which Magdalene had been released do not necessarily mean sinfulness, much less demonic possession, but do suggest a profound cure that Jesus had worked in her. Sickness and death were reflected the reign of evil in the world and must be totally conquered and removed within the Kingdom of God. God’s final triumph is already anticipated by Luke, who in his “Gospel of women,” gives them a place of honour in this peaceful scene. Again, typical of Luke, the names of influential public figures are introduced, like “Johanna, the wife of Herod’s steward, Chuza,” Somehow, the political and the spiritual Kingdom have come graciously toether. He is already anticipating the purpose of the cross, which is complete redemption, body and spirit, men and women, friends and strangers, heaven and earth.
First Timothy comes to our help in calmer moments. After we have completed a stretch of joy, peace and accomplishment, it may be time to settle down and review the situation. We need to interrelate events and achievements, to take stock where we have gone, to realize the scope of what we have done and who we are. Perhaps, we need most of all a time of silence, prayer and settling in the Lord.