Reflections

Friday of 24th Week of the Year, September 18, 2020

WOMEN AS COMPANIONS
Introduction
Indeed, Christ is alive. He is risen. And if he is risen, we too will rise. The two go together. Without the resurrection of Christ, ours is hopeless, and, we believe in vain.
Luke is the evangelist who describes the contribution of women in the apostolate of Jesus. Christ has liberated them from the alienations of Jewish society. They accompanied Jesus since the beginning of his ministry and had a status not far remote from that of the Twelve; after the resurrection they were the first to proclaim that Christ was risen. Together with the Twelve, they are companions of Jesus as he goes from town to town to bring the good news. Companions are people who share the same table. How have we involved women in this era of inclusive apostolate and collaborative ministry?

Opening Prayer
Lord our God,
men and women are responsible together
for the life of faith of our Christian communities.
As they were disciples of Jesus
and his companions on the road,
may they also accompany us today,
with their identity and potentials,
that the Church may grow
and its faith be alive and imbued with love.
We ask you this through Christ our Lord. Amen!

1 Reading: 1 Corinthians 15:12-20
Brothers and sisters: If Christ is preached as raised from the dead, how can some among you say there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then neither has Christ been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then empty too is our preaching; empty, too, your faith. Then we are also false witnesses to God, because we testified against God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, neither has Christ been raised, and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is vain; you are still in your sins. Then those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are the most pitiable people of all. But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 17:1bcd, 6-7, 8b and 15
R. (15b) Lord, when your glory appears, my joy will be full.

Hear, O LORD, a just suit;
attend to my outcry;
hearken to my prayer from lips without deceit. R.

I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God;
incline your ear to me; hear my word.
Show your wondrous mercies,
O saviour of those who flee
from their foes to refuge at your right hand. R.

Hide me in the shadow of your wings,
But I in justice shall behold your face;
on waking, I shall be content in your presence. R.

Alleluia cf. Matthew 11:25
Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth;
you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the Kingdom.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Luke 8:1-3
Jesus journeyed from one town and village to another, preaching and proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom of God. Accompanying him were 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 who provided for them out of their resources.

Commentary
The problems facing the church in Corinth were not few in number. Some people were questioning the resurrection from the dead. This was a question in Jesus’ ministry as well, with the Jewish Sadducees excluding any belief in a resurrection. Paul’s response is very much ad hominem.
Belief in Christ’s resurrection was basic and essential feature of Christian belief. Not only did it have apologetic importance; it was the risen Christ who was the life giver, with the gift of the Holy Spirit being the first fruit of the resurrection. The presence of the Holy Spirit was concomitant with the forgiveness of sins. The conclusion, then, is clear enough. If Christ is not risen, then our faith is in vain and our sins remain.
What form will the resurrection take? That is difficult to say. We do know that it means that we will be participants in the end-time happiness and that we will be united with Christ. Paul himself admits that he cannot describe a resurrected body. It is as different from the present moment as the oak is from the acorn. But there is a continuity between the present and future life. We have that on the word of Christ.

Intercessions
– That the contribution of women to the building up of the community of the Church may be appreciated more, and as well as that of men, we pray:
– That women in the Church may continue to enrich us with the warmth of their gentleness, we pray:
– That women in the Church may inspire us by their sense of welcome, faith and fidelity, we pray:

Prayer over the Gifts
Lord our God,
let us be companions of your Son
who share his table.
and become with him
one in mind and heart.
Let fathers and mothers in our families
make their gifts of mind and heart available
and nourish their children
with the food of faith
and the warmth of love and compassion.
Let them make their children
close to Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen!

Prayer after Communion
Lord our God,
we have been companions of your Son
as we have eaten from his table.
Make us also his companions
on the journey of life
that we may we bring to the people we encounter
the good news of forgiveness and life
that make our communities
signs of the kingdom of God.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen!

Blessing
The women who accompanied Jesus “served him,” says the gospel. Jesus was among us as the one who serves, and we, men and women, serve with him. May almighty God bless you, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!

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