Malankara World Journal - Christian Spirituality from an Orthodox Perspective
Malankara World Journal
Great Lent Week 5, Women in Jesus' Ministry
Volume 6 No. 335 March 4, 2016
 
III. Great Lent - Week 5 - Supplement

Malankara World Great Lent Supplement

Great Lent is the time for personal reflection, meditation, reconciliation, and prayer. Malankara World has a great resource that helps you accomplish that. We provide you daily reflections, meditations, prayer, bible readings etc.

If you only have a few minutes to spend a day, you can read short reflective articles and meditations. If you have more time, there are bible readings, and others to enrich your day.

Read the articles about how to practice lent. You can find the resources here:

Malankara World Great Lent Supplement http://www.Malankaraworld.com/Library/Lent/Default.htm

Meditations and Reflections For
Week 5 of Great Lent

After reading and reflecting on the Great Lent, then read the specified readings and reflections for the day specified. We will guide you week by week.

Week 5 of Great Lent
http://www.Malankaraworld.com/Library/Lent/Lent_week5.htm

IV. Featured: Women in Jesus' Ministry

Role of Women in Jesus' Ministry

by Dr. Jacob Mathew, Chief Editor, Malankara World

Last week, we examined the encounter of Jesus Christ and the Canaanite woman who came to plead for her daughter. We noted that the persistent prayer and pleading by the Canaanite women was successful in swaying Jesus' mind. This week we encounter another woman - a person who was bent and disfigured. It was a pathetic sight - she could not look at the sky or look up to pray to God. But she was there every Sabbath day at the temple to pray. Jesus saw her in the temple and he was moved by her dedication. She is also a daughter of Abraham, made in the image of God, Jesus exclaims. Overcame with compassion, Jesus heals her on the spot in the temple on a Sabbath day. The woman didn't ask Jesus to heal her. It is doubtful, she even knows him or had heard about him.

Here is an example of healing initiated by Jesus himself rather than the beneficiary person initiating it (direct prayer) or someone else acting on behalf of the person (intercessional prayer).

On the first Sunday of the Great Lent, we have examined the sign/miracle of Jesus changing water to wine at the wedding at Cana. St. Mary, Mother of Jesus, intervenes on behalf of the wedding hosts in this case. Here again, Jesus was persuaded to do a miracle "before he was ready." Again, God can be persuaded to act when someone prays earnestly and persistently or when someone dear to the God intervenes.

It is remarkable that 3 out of 6 miracles selected by Holy Church to feature during the Holy Lent involves women. In two of those instances, the women were able to change Jesus' initial objection to performing the miracle too. Women played an important role in the ministry of Jesus Christ.

At the time of Jesus, it was a Patriarchal society. Women were not regarded in high esteem. Their testimony had no standing in a court of law. In the ancient Greece, women were treated like slaves. Aristotle bluntly stated that women were inferior to men: "The male is by nature superior, the female inferior; and the one rules, the other is ruled."

The situation in Israel at the time of Jesus was slightly better than in ancient Greece but not by much. Judaism of the first century communicated a mixed message about women. Josephus (1) writes, "The woman, says the Law, is in all things inferior to the man."

Women are categorized in the repeated rabbinical formula, "women, slaves and minors" demonstrating that a woman, like a Gentile slave and a minor child, was under the authority of a man and had limited participation in religious activity.

According to most rabbinic customs of Jesus' time, women were not allowed to study the Torah. Eliezer, a first-century rabbi, stated: "Rather should the words of the Torah be burned than entrusted to a woman. . . . Whoever teaches his daughter the Torah is like one who teaches her lasciviousness."

There was a three-fold thanksgiving in the daily prayers of Jews: "Praised be God that he has not created me a gentile; praised be God that he has not created me a woman; praised be God that he has not created me an ignorant man."

Women were not allowed to testify in a court of law. The Rabbis taught, "This is the governing principle: Any evidence which a woman is not valid [to offer], also they are not valid [to offer]." It is also interesting to note that in the great temple at Jerusalem women were limited to one outer court which was five steps below the court for men.

Another rabbinical saying about women was, "they are greedy at their food, eager to gossip, lazy and jealous." That indicates not only a deplorable attitude toward women, but a lack of self-respect among the women themselves.

Look at the contempt in which women were treated in Jesus' time. Then look at what Jesus did. Jesus ministered to women and treated each one as a person, something unheard of in those times. Apostle Paul stated: "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Gal. 3:28). WOW!

Both in his teaching and in his activities, Jesus reached out to women as persons who were equally worthy as men in his saving activity. As we see in today's Gospel story, Jesus' compassion was directed equally at men and women. Christianity played a big role in raising the status of women. Christians accepted that both men and women are created in the image of God and are same in the eyes of God.

For example, the most important event in the whole Christianity (Gospel)  is the crucifixion and resurrection. Without a resurrected savior, Christianity has no mustard. Look who Jesus picked to reveal himself first after his resurrection. A woman (Mary Magdalene). Jesus asked Mary to go and tell the disciples that Jesus has defeated death. She was His ambassador. Imagine, someone who cannot even testify in a court, someone's testimony has no value in a Patriarchal society, being selected by Jesus as His emissary for the most important task of the Gospel.

Jesus treated women with incredible respect. A classic passage in this regard is Jesus' interaction with the Samaritan woman. Gregg Cantelmo (2) writes:

This is a remarkable exchange, since Jesus was not only interacting with a Samaritan, a member of a race that was despised by Jews, but also a woman. And Jesus' conversation with this woman is probably the most profound discussion of theology in the gospels. Women were not encouraged to have interaction with male strangers.

But Jesus went beyond the cultural ethnic and gender barriers and treated her as a person who was worth his offer of the living water of eternal life. He didn't treat her in reference to what others said about her, her accomplishments or possessions, and he didn't deal with her based on her appearance. He establishes through this woman that whoever accepts his offer of living water, that person will receive it. The woman saw the barrier as ethnic, whereas the disciples returned and made an issue of gender. But for Jesus, gender and ethnicity are irrelevant in his offer of salvation.

She comes to the well at noonday, the hottest hour of the day, which whispers a rumor of her reputation. The other women come at dusk, a cooler, more comfortable hour. They come not only to draw water, but to take off their veils and slip out from under the thumb of a male-dominated society. They come for companionship, to talk, to laugh, and to barter gossip - much of which centers around this woman. So shunned by these women, she braves the sun's scorn. Accusing thoughts are her only companions as she ponders the futile road her life has traveled. She's looked for love in all the wrong places, going from one dead-end relationship to another. For her, marriage has been a retreating mirage. Again and again she has returned to the matrimonial well, hoping to draw from it something to quench her thirst for love and happiness. But again and again, she has left that well disappointed.

And so, under the weight of such thoughts she comes to Jacob's well, her empty water jar a telling symbol of her life. As her eyes meet the Savior's, he sees within her a cavernous aching, a cistern in her soul that will forever remain empty unless he fills it. And there she meets Jesus.

This encounter shows to all women that regardless of past mistakes, hurts, pain, and failures Jesus wants to fill women with his love because women are people intrinsically whom he values. Every woman is created in his image, a daughter of Eve, and he offers the greatest ministry ever; cleansing, forgiveness, hope, meaning, significance, and a life of power and purpose.

Jesus picked the Samaritan woman, an outcast, as His evangelist to preach her village the Gospel! Incredible, isn't it?

One of the person we feature in today's Journal is Mary (sister of Lazar). She was so moved by what Jesus did in raising her brother that she collected all her money, bought the most expensive perfume and anointed Jesus. The room was filled with the aroma of the perfume and the disciples were mad that she wasted all that money on the perfume. Jesus tells them that where ever the Gospel is told, this action of Mary, her love, will be proclaimed! What an honor!

Yes, Jesus loved and respected the women. And they indeed reciprocated the love too. We have a long list of women who followed Jesus all over the place taking care of the logistical details. The Samaritan woman, Mary of Magdalene, Martha and Mary, the Widow at Nain, His mother Mary, Veronica and several others. When his disciples deserted him, the women courageously followed him to Calvary, weeping and crying. Even when he was dying on the cross, Jesus reached out to his mother while a sword was piercing through her heart and asked his disciple John to take care of her.

This week, we feature four women in Jesus' ministry - the widow who puts two mites as offering in the temple, Mary Magdalene, Martha and Mary - in MWJ. They represent key aspects of Christianity - devotion, service, fruit (works) and love.

Here is an excerpt from an article by LL HH Zakka 1 Iwas Patriarch (3) on the role of women in Church:

"The Lord Jesus, however, showed His divine care for women. Some women walked with Him, serving Him and His disciples. Jesus was the friend of Martha and Mary, and their brother Lazarus (John 11:5). It is noteworthy to mention here that women were loyal to Jesus Christ. They followed Him on His way to Golgotha. They bewailed and lamented Him. They grieved when they beheld Him crucified, suffering and in agony. They heard Him commend His mother, the Virgin Mary, to the care of His beloved disciple, thus teaching every human being to honor their mothers and take care of them. Women also followed Him to the new sepulcher where His Holy body was buried. They were the first to come early to the grave to embalm His Body. They were the first to see Him after the resurrection, and the first to profess his resurrection and proclaim it."

Jesus showed by his actions that the beauty of God in creation is manifested in the complementariness of the two genders.

References:

1. Josephus, Flavius, 'The New Complete Works of Josephus'. Translated by William Whiston. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel, 1999.

2. Gregg Cantelmo, 'How Jesus Ministered To Women', A Bible Study.

3. LL HH Ignatius Zakka-I Iwas, The Patriarch of the Apostolic See of Antioch & All the East, 'The Role of Women in The Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch.'

Jesus Praises a Poor Widow

By Dr. Ray Pritchard

"This poor widow has put in more than all those giving to the temple treasury." (Mark 12:43)

First things first. It's "mites" plural, not the widow's mite, as some people say. The term itself comes from the King James Version, which used "mites" to translate the Greek word lepta, a term that referred to a tiny coin worth almost nothing at all. If she had dropped in one coin, it would be a lepton, but she put in two coins, thus the plural term lepta.

Does that matter?

Yes and no. It doesn't matter in the sense that this poor widow had almost nothing to start with, so it's the difference between putting one penny versus two pennies in the offering plate. Either way, you can't meet your budget with one penny or with two.

It's also true that we often favor the rich over the poor. That was a problem in the early church when the ushers would give the man with a gold ring the best seat in the house while making the homeless fellow stand in the back (see James 2:1-10). Big gifts impress us because we can do so much more with $5 million than with $5.

And, really, what good is 2 pennies?

But Jesus sees it differently. By the way, don't miss the fact that Jesus sat down across from the temple treasury and watched as the people came with their offerings. Jesus pays attention to who gives and when and where and why. Those things matter to him.

Think about this. Jesus not only knows how much we give; he also notices how much we keep for ourselves. He's not that impressed when a man worth $100 million makes a $5 million gift. In Jesus' eyes, he didn't give as much as the widow who gave two tiny coins.

He gave out of his surplus.
She gave out of her poverty.

Here comes this poor widow. She is about 60, maybe 5'4", body worn from long years of labor, dressed in a simple hand sewn smock. As she approaches the treasury, she clutches two pennies in her hand. It is the smallest copper coin in Judea, worth almost nothing. It's all the money she has. She throws the coins in the mouth of the receptacle. They make a tiny clink when they hit the bottom. Quickly she turns to go away. No one speaks to her. She's just another widow. In a moment, she is gone. No one notices her.

No one except Jesus.

In his eyes, her gift was bigger than all the rich people who brought their coins to the temple that day. No doubt his words shocked the disciples. No one but Jesus could have made that judgment. A great mind-reader . . . and a great heart-reader . . . was in the temple that day. He saw the gifts, and he judged the givers.

Let us learn from this that Jesus turns the values of the world upside down. We look at the outside; God judges the heart. We look at the amount on the check; Jesus looks at what it cost us to make the gift.

In his eyes, a rich man who gives a million dollars matters very little. But a widow who gives away her last two pennies earns his praise. In her act, Jesus saw a moving display of the true spirit of sacrifice. There is a lesson here for all of us. Strange as it may seem, our money is best used when we give it away.

Lord, forgive me for hoarding what you have given me. Help me to be generous with my time, my talent, and my treasure. Amen.

Copyright 2016 Keep Believing Ministries, All rights reserved.

Mary Magdalene - Messenger of Resurrection
The name "Mary Magdalene" can evoke different images to various people. Many see her as a deranged woman suffering from being possessed by demons, while others view her as a fallen woman, even a prostitute. Although the Biblical record is not silent on the matter, we are only given a few details about the life of Mary Magdalene in the Bible - and you may be surprised what the Scripture does and doesn't say! While the facts of Mary's life are sketchy, at best, one thing is perfectly clear: Mary Magdalene loved Jesus, and Jesus loved her. In fact, her story will forever remain entwined with the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The name "Mary" occurs 51 times in the New Testament and is taken from the Old Testaments names of Miriam and Mara, which mean "bitter". The root of the name "Mary" is derived from the notion of trouble and sorrow. Being a common name during this time period, this Mary was distinguished from all others by being referred to as "The Magdalene", which identifies her as being born in Magdala, a thriving city on the coast of Galilee about three miles from Capernaum. The city of Magdala was known for its primitive textile factories and dye works. While it is only speculation, it could be that Mary Magdalene was connected in some way with that industry, which would have enabled her to help support the ministry of Jesus, as she was known to have done.

There is nothing in the Biblical record of Mary's family life. The Scripture does not list her parentage, any family members, her marital status, or her age. The gospel accounts of her life suggest that she had no family obligations, thus freeing her to follow Jesus in His traveling ministry.

While many equate Mary Magdalene with the woman of Luke 7:37 "which was a sinner" or the woman caught in adultery in John 8:3, there is not the slightest evidence in the gospel narratives or in the writings of the early church fathers to support the claim that Mary Magdalene had ever been a woman of ill repute. What the Bible does tell us about her is that she had been possessed by seven demons, which probably caused her to have bouts of insanity, and that Jesus cast them out of her, freeing her from that awful malady (Luke 8:2). Being delivered from her tormenting captors, Mary became a disciple of Jesus, to whom she showed great love and devotion. Along with other women, Mary gave both personal and financial support to the ministry of Jesus, following Him from place to place in his missionary activities.

Mary Magdalene is mentioned fourteen times in the gospels and from that record we can compose a sketchy profile of her life. It is worth noting that in eight of the fourteen instances that she is mentioned, Mary is named in connection with other women, of which she is always named first. This would lead us to believe that she occupied the place at the front in service rendered by godly women. In the five times she is mentioned alone, it is connection with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Mark 16:9; John 20:1, 11, 16, 18).

Forever faithful to her Lord, Mary Magdalene was among the last at the cross to witness Christ's death and, following Joseph of Arimathea to see where Jesus' body would be laid, she was the last to leave His tomb after night had fallen. Intending to honor Christ by anointing His body with spices and perfumes, she was the first to visit the tomb on resurrection morning and the first to carry the news that Jesus had risen from the dead.

What a great honor God bestowed upon Mary in permitting her to be the first witness of His resurrection! The gospel of John tells us best of what happened that day. Mary was at the tomb at first light that first Easter morning. How surprised she must have been to see the stone rolled away! Peering in the cave she saw that it was empty, which made her weep. After finding the grave empty Mary rushed to find Peter and John and blurted out "They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulcher and we know not where they have laid him". Peter and John went to the tomb with Mary and found that she told them the truth, but they left, departing "to their own homes". But Mary stayed. It was then, after speaking to two angels, that Jesus revealed himself to Mary.

After comforting her, Jesus commissioned Mary to be the first messenger of His resurrection. It was her job to "go to the brethren and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God and your God" (John 20:17). What an honor to be the first to herald the resurrection!

There is much we can learn from the life of Mary Magdalene. In her life we can see just how much Christ can do for a woman. He delivered her afflicted, tormented soul and healed her of all her afflictions, leaving her a changed woman.

Through her life we not only learn what Christ can do for us, but what we can do for Him. His great love and compassion toward her completely changed her life and led Mary to become a faithful, sacrificial follower. So grateful for her deliverance, Mary practiced her faith by following Jesus and ministering to Him and his disciples out of her financial means and taking care of their physical needs. Her gratitude and love manifested itself in her devotion to Christ.

Mary Magdalene owed much, gave much, loved much and served much. She is a wonderful example of a woman whose life was poured out in response to God's extravagant grace.

St. Martha of Good Deeds

By Dr. Ray Pritchard

"So they gave a dinner for Him there; Martha was serving them." (John 12:2)

There are many good examples of hospitality in the Bible, but perhaps none so interesting as the story of Mary and Martha in Luke 10. You remember that Jesus was coming to Bethany with his disciples. When Martha heard about it, she "opened her home to him" (Luke 10:38). Naturally she wanted everything to be just right so she spent her time bustling around cooking, cleaning, checking the silverware, and sweeping the floor. Meanwhile her sister Mary was just sitting there - cross-legged on the floor, no doubt - listening to Jesus talk.

Martha didn't like it. And the more she thought about it, the angrier she got. Finally she interrupted Jesus with a complaint we can all understand. "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!" (Luke 10:40)

Jesus' answer has often been construed as a rebuke to Martha's busyness, but that's not exactly right. "Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken from her" (Luke 10:42).

Martha's problem was not that she was bustling around getting things done. No, without Martha the meal would never be served. Jesus and his disciples would starve if they had to depend on dreamy-eyed Mary. Martha's problem was that she forgot why she was doing all the work in the first place. She was "distracted" and "worried" when she should have been glad that Jesus had come to their home as a guest.

We thank God for those dedicated servers who focus on meeting physical needs, especially those who spontaneously and gladly open their homes to others. Who is ready to host a visiting missionary? Who will open their home for a Sunday School class social? Who is glad for the teenagers to come over? Who would make available a spare bedroom for an unwed mother waiting to have her baby? Who is ready to provide a meal on a moment's notice? Maybe the question is not who. Maybe the question is, should it be you?

God bless all the Marthas of the world. Nothing would get done without them. Someone has to make supper, someone has to get the kids ready for school, someone has to knit blankets for the new babies, someone has to take a meal to a sick person.

When the story is told of Mary pouring oil on Jesus' feet, we rightly focus on her extravagant generosity. But don't forget her sister Martha.

Who planned the meal? Martha.
Who prepared it? Martha.
Who served it? Martha.
Who do we remember from that night? Mary.

That's how life is sometimes. I'm not sure what Martha thought about her emotionally-expressive sister. I imagine that sometimes she rolled her eyes, and sometimes she felt like saying, "Come back to the kitchen and give me a hand."

It takes all kinds to make a world. Tomorrow we'll talk more about Mary. But for today, let's give three cheers for the Marthas of the world. They serve in the nursery, work in the kitchen, keep track of the supplies, and they organize the leaders who drive the kids to summer camp.

God bless all the Marthas in our midst. They too are serving the Lord, and without them nothing would get done.

Lord Jesus, I pray for a servant's eyes to see the needs around me, and I pray for a servant's heart to respond with servant hands, ready to do whatever needs to be done. Amen.

2016 Keep Believing Ministries

Mary: Extravagant Love

By Dr. Ray Pritchard

"Then Mary took a pound of fragrant oil - pure and expensive nard - anointed Jesus' feet, and wiped His feet with her hair. So the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil."
(John 12:3).

Some things can't be explained rationally.

This is one of those things.

Nard was an oil extracted from the root of the nard plant, grown in India. It was, as John notes, very expensive. A pound of nard equaled 300 denarii as Judas reckoned it, meaning that it cost the equivalent of nine months of salary for a working man in Jesus' day.

It's hard for us to fathom that, or to think about it properly. In today's terms, it would be like spending $30,000 on a bottle of perfume. Who does that? You can buy a nice car for $30,000.

Not only does she have a jar of expensive oil, she pours it on Jesus' feet. John says the fragrance filled the house. I'm sure it smelled wonderful. It ought to smell good for that kind of money.

John points out that Judas objected to this "wasteful" extravagance, but Matthew and Mark make it clear that the other disciples joined in. They were indignant that Mary would spend so much on perfume that was just poured out on Jesus' feet. Why not use the money to feed the poor?

Mary responds this way to Jesus because he performed the amazing miracle of raising her brother Lazarus from the dead. That miracle revealed to her that Jesus was much more than a teacher or a prophet. She knew he had power and authority that could only come from God.

Her desire to honor Jesus moves her to violate the customs of the day. A woman would not normally sit at a man's feet, much less let down her hair in public, and certainly not wipe his feet with her hair. It was, in a sense, a very private act that others were permitted to see. Jesus' comment that she anointed him in view of his coming burial would not have made much sense at that moment. It was true, of course, but they wouldn't understand it until after the crucifixion.

I don't think Jesus means that Mary had been given some special insight into his coming death. It seems that none of the disciples saw clearly what was about to happen. Mary's extravagant gesture was just that - an expression of her unrestrained love for Jesus in response to all he had done for her and her family.

True love, deep love, honest-to-goodness love can't be explained. Even when you see it, you don't understand it. Judas had a good point, but so what? Love has its reasons, and those reasons can't always be spelled out.

Mary's gift to Jesus was so extravagant and so radical that his top men couldn't understand it. I'm sure I would have reacted as they did. That leads me to one final thought. If my faith never leads me to do things that make no sense to others, including my Christian friends, perhaps I'm playing it too safe. If everything I say and do seems perfectly comprehensible to the world, then I need to do some soul-searching. The world says Mary was a fool to do what she did. Would the world ever say that about me?

That's too close for comfort, which is one reason this story is in the Bible.

Spirit of God, shake me up so that I will wake up and not be ashamed to be counted a fool for Christ's sake. Amen.

Copyright 2016 Keep Believing Ministries, All rights reserved.

MWJ Special Edition: Women's Role in Syriac Orthodox Church
One of the most misunderstood topic in our church is the role played by women in our church. Many people have the mistaken notion that women are treated inferior to men in our church and that is why we do not allow women to take up priestly duties in our church. This is wrong. The orthodox church gives equal importance to men and women in the church as they are both created in the image of God. But each play a separate, unique, role. Malankara World has produced a mega special on 'Women in Church' a few years ago to discuss this topic. You can read it here:

http://www.MalankaraWorld.com/Newsletter/MWJ_121.htm

Family Special: Mom's Advice

by Catherine O'Connell-Cahill

A mom told me a story a few weeks back. Her son - let's call him Josh - was being bullied at school by another boy. Josh was not the boy's only target, but he was one of his regular victims. Josh's mom also knew that the bully, like many of his kind, was living his own version of agony at home.

Josh would come home from school and complain to his parents that this kid was making his life miserable.

Put yourself in this parent's shoes. Imagine for a moment your own anger on hearing about your son getting picked on, threatened, made fun of, and then think of all the things you could say.

"Next time he threatens you, punch him in the nose. Just don't let the teacher see you."

"That little $%&*! Wait till I see his parents, I'll give them a piece of my mind!"

"Let's sign you up for some karate lessons pronto."

"I'll go talk to the teacher and find out what the heck she's doing over there!"

"Get all your friends to give him the silent treatment."

"Let me get my lawyer on the phone!"

Here's what this mom said: "Is there one thing you like about this kid?"

Stunning. Instead of latching onto anger, victimhood, or revenge, she decided to put the gospels into action, turning the situation on its head.

Her son thought a while and finally said, "He's really good at football."

Knowing that her son and his buddies played football at recess, she asked whether the bully was often chosen for these pickup teams.

"No," said her son. "No one ever wants to pick him for a team because he's the class bully and they don't like him."

"And do you ever get to be the captain and pick kids for your team?" she asked.

"I get a chance every so often," said her son.

"So next time you're the captain, why don't you pick this kid and see what happens?"

Her son agreed. A pretty brave kid, I have to say, and a kid able to get over his resentments. He chose the bully to be on his football team at the next opportunity.

This started a whole chain of events: Other kids also began picking the bully for football, the boy started getting attention for something besides bullying, and soon the bullying itself faded away.

All because of one sentence we don't usually apply to people who are doing us harm: "Is there one thing you like about this person?" The mom used her creativity to set in motion a force for good. "The thing is, he's a beautiful kid," she said of the bully. She started with compassion and built from there.

Scripture scholars have long said that "Turn the other cheek" (Matt. 5:39) is not synonymous with "Just stand there." Rather it urges us to respond to violence with creativity. The mom knew this in her bones. She didn't let her son roll over to the bully, nor did she go the route of retribution. Instead she and her son took the one path that could - and did - lead to healing.

There's an old saying that faith is "caught, not taught." I imagine that the son caught a lot from this moment, about what it means to live out his faith and about the woman who is his mom. And isn't it great to know that the words of Jesus still apply to a grade-school bully in the 21st century?

Excepted from 'At Home with Our Faith', Claretian Publications' print newsletter for parents on nurturing spirituality in the home. Winner of the 2010 and 2011 General Excellence award from the Catholic Press Association.  

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