When Jesus traveled from town to town, proclaiming the Good News, He was rarely alone. In addition to His twelve apostles, who usually accompanied Jesus in His travels, women were also present. In today’s Gospel, we hear about the famous Mary Magdalene, as well as Joanna and Susanna. Their role in the group was two-fold: they were invited to listen to the preaching of the Master, and in exchange, they saw to the physical needs of the group, ensuring that everyone was fed and cared for.
Jesus Christ accepted all kinds of people into His group. It didn’t matter what kind of baggage you brought with you, or what you had done in the past. It didn’t matter what kind of job you had, or how much money you made. Tax collector? Not a problem. Made some poor life choices? Don’t let them stand in your way. Homemaker? There’s room for you here too. Formerly possessed by seven demons? Welcome home. All are welcome here, even you and me. Especially you and me.
There is room for all of us in the Body of Christ. Jesus knows what is on our hearts, and as long as our repentance is sincere, our past sins will never be an obstacle to walking with Christ. Christ’s love of us is transformative. He can turn a hotheaded fisherman into a leader, a possessed woman into a devout disciple, a tax collector into an evangelist. We are washed clean, our sins are erased, and we are born again in Christ. We are a new creation, and our spot in the Body of Christ is already paid for. We just need to claim it as our own.
In today’s Gospel, we see that Christ has called all people to follow Him. Men and women become brothers and sisters. Sinners become saints. The rejected ones become the redeemed. We are all children of God, and we are all called to be disciples of Christ. We are all invited to play our role in the Body of Christ. Some of us will preach and teach. Others will heal and protect. Still others will serve and nurture. There is a place for all of us, no matter what our talents and abilities might be, and no matter where we might have come from. We are all needed. We are all wanted. We are all loved. We are all called. The remaining question is, how will you serve in the Body of Christ?
Shannon Whitmore currently lives in northwestern Virginia with her husband, Andrew, and their two children, John and Felicity. When she is not caring for her children, Shannon enjoys writing for her blog, Love in the Little Things, reading fiction, and freelance writing. She has experience serving in the areas of youth ministry, religious education, sacramental preparation, and marriage enrichment.