Galilean Women Follow Jesus (Luke 8:1-3)

Galilean Women Follow Jesus

1 Afterward he journeyed from one town and village to another, preaching and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God.  Accompanying him were the Twelve

2 and some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out,

3 Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, Susanna, and many others who provided for them out of their resources.

This is a nice, short pericope. After we’ve read it twice we might think it’s not really labeled correctly.  Should it be “Galilean Women Follow Jesus?”  After all, there are three distinct groups identified: 1) the Twelve – his soon-to-be Apostles; 2) the Galilean Women; and 3) many others who paid the way.  Perhaps it should have been called “Jesus’ Traveling Entourage”.

But as we look at these groups the Galilean Women stand apart; they capture our attention.  We notice that among this list of people it’s only the Galilean Women that have been healed by Jesus.  By this time in the Gospel story Jesus has healed hundreds.  Recall how he cured people all night long in Simon’s mother-in-law’s house (see the reflection on Lk 4:40); also remember how he cured all the ill and possessed in the great crowd that prefigured the Mass (see the reflection on Lk 6:17-18). Surely He has healed a multitude of men, but where are they?  Why don’t they accompany Jesus on his missionary journey?

The Apostles stand apart because they are the only ones that have been called; they are beginning an exceptional vocation.  But, hey, we expect them to follow Jesus; their presence isn’t really a surprise.  The “many others” can’t be said to stand apart.  But these women – the ones that have been cleansed and cured by Christ Himself – they are unique.

Ok, they’re unique.  So what?  What’s the big deal that of all the people who follow him it’s only these women that have the distinction of having been cured and healed by Jesus?

In my estimation it’s to draw our attention to them. As we read more of scripture, and pay careful attention we’ll see that Jesus often breaks with conventional norms regarding his treatment of, and interaction with, women.  I think we should pay attention because as Christ heals us and heals the world He is also healing one more thing.  He is healing the relationship between Man and Woman.

Before the Original Sin and The Fall from Grace, Adam and Eve existed in perfect harmony in the Garden of Eden.  They were ideal for each other because they were made for each other.  Men and women were not created as opposite sexes – they were created as complimentary sexes.  But with The Fall from Grace the Man-Woman relationship was wounded too.  Before the fall their relationship can be characterized by Adam’s cry of joy “This one, at last, is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh” (Gen 2:23).  However after the fall we hear God explain a consequence of how sin has wounded their relationship: “your urge shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you” (Gen 3:16).

This is a short, three-verse pericope and we could easily cruise right by, not thinking too much of it.  But I think these women – these healed, cured women – have been included here so that we can take notice and pay attention to the women in and around Jesus’ ministry. Whenever we encounter special women in these accounts of the Gospel, it should remind us that Christ is healing the relationship that was lost in The Fall.

Scripture texts in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition© 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

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