The small, daily decisions that give our lives meaning
A Reflection for Friday of the Twenty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time
Find today’s readings here.
“...and many others who provided for them out of their resources.”
In today’s Gospel, I find it remarkable how much work is being done by so few words. Here’s what’s being said: Jesus, the itinerant preacher, is accompanied by “the Twelve.” And with him, too, is Mary, called Magdalene, Joanna and Susanna, “and many others who provided for them out of their resources.”
Here’s what’s not being said: That this group of men and women traveling together would have been unusual. That both the men and the women may have faced scorn for traveling together. That just naming these women here is notable “in light of the attitude of first-century Palestinian Judaism toward women” (The Catholic Study Bible). That the courage it took for each to make this choice must have been tremendous. That all of them, save for Jesus, were imperfect in their own ways, but that together they would help something extraordinary happen.
Think of all of the resources—emotional, financial, logistical, spiritual—that would be needed to make Jesus’ ministry happen.
Think of all of the resources—emotional, financial, logistical, spiritual—that would be needed to make Jesus’ ministry happen. Think of the choices and the sacrifices that each of these individuals, the named and the unnamed, had to make to be a part of it. Think of the path it took them on and how much more is yet to come. Mary Magdalene and Joanna are named again at the foot of the cross, and Mary Magdalene, of course, at the resurrection.
It is the seemingly small, daily decisions that make up so much of the meaning in our lives. The people with whom we spend our time, whom we support, to whom we choose to devote our resources, set us on a certain path. Do we spend our time with people who, as the first reading suggests, “pursue righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience, and gentleness”? Do we “compete well for the faith”? Do we seek the limelight in the process? Or are we content to be one of the “many others,” knowing that any work in the name of our Lord is worthwhile, that all resources devoted to his name go toward the good of his Kingdom?