SUSANNA AND ANONIMOUS WOMEN (Fr. Varghese Paul, S.J.)

The name Susanna in Greek and Hebrew means lily, a white lily. In the New Testament only Luke mentions Susannas name in his Gospel.

From various Gospel accounts it is very clear that Jesus had a considerable number of women followers like Susanna; but most of them are not named in the Gospel narrations. But they helped Jesus and his disciples on the move, out of their own resources.

Mark describing the scene at the foot of the Cross mentions three women by their names and then adds, They had followed Jesus while he was in Galilee and had helped him. Many other women who had come to Jerusalem with him were there also (Mk. 15, 41).

Luke speaks about the women accompanying Jesus and helping him and his disciples during their journeys from their own sources. Luke writes, The twelve disciples went with him, and so did some women who had been healed of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (who was called Magdalene), from whom seven demons had been driven out; Joanna, whose husband Chuza was an officer in Herods court; and Susanna, and many other women who used their own resources to help Jesus and his disciples (Lk 8, 1-3).

During Jesus public ministry he helped a number of women curing them, forgiving them and above all treating them always on par with men. The women like Susanna with womanly instinct recognized and appreciated Jesus unprejudiced attitude towards them and responded generously with love and affection for him.

In Jewish society being born a female was a disadvantage. Women were not valued socially among the Jewish people. They were considered at the level of children and slaves, who had no right or social standing in the Jewish society.

Jesus breaks this socio-religious tradition of the Jews and treats women as equal to men. In Jesus time womens role was confined to sex and mothering children. Women could not become disciples of a Jewish leader or members of the Sadducee, Pharisee or Zealot parties.

Jesus had many friends and disciples among women. Jesus welcomed not only ordinary women but sinners and even prostitutes. All women were on par with his own mother and he acknowledged them all as his mothers and sisters (see Mk 3, 35 and parrallel passages in Mathew and Luke).

No wonder that many women like Susanna followed Jesus and ministered to him and his disciples from their own substance. (contact the author: यह ईमेल पता spambots से संरक्षित किया जा रहा है. आप जावास्क्रिप्ट यह देखने के सक्षम होना चाहिए. )

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