Called to be both Martha and Mary

JULY 21, 2019 SIXTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME (Lec. 108)  

1)         Genesis 18:1-10a

2)         Colossians 1:24-28

3)         Luke 10:38-42 Gospel related: CSDC 260

A true story: Once upon a time a young mother with three young children in tow found a pew toward the back of the church. She regularly did this so that she could make a graceful exit if one of her children needed the bathroom or started to squirm a little too much. A few minutes later, an older parishioner came up to the young mother and announced that she was sitting in her seat. She quietly moved over, knowing her escape route had now been compromised.

Almost as if on cue, when the first reading began, one of the children started crying. The older parishioner who forced her way into “her pew” started glaring at this young mother. Thankfully another older parishioner, sitting right behind her, leaned forward and quietly offered to watch the two other children while she took care of the one who needed her attention at the moment.

 

Thus, the Martha and Mary debate seems to continue even today: doing what is most important in the right moment. Do we listen to Jesus or tend to his needs? In the story above, one older parishioner wants to sit at the feet of Jesus and hear what he has to say without being disrupted. The other parishioner seems more concerned with meeting the needs of a distraught mother. In this instance, we might say that the parishioner who came to the aid of the mother did so because she was already hearing exactly what Jesus had to say, and she acted on it.

As a Church, we continue to struggle with how to make anyone and everyone welcome in our midst regardless of their circumstances. The Eucharist we gather to celebrate is an incredible gift given to us by a God who loves us beyond words. Both Martha and Mary’s talents are needed within us so that we can bring others to Christ – so we can bring others to the Lord’s Table.

If we grow complacent in our responsibility in not only hearing the word of God, but in acting upon it, the Church will suffer. Let none of us be responsible for turning away anyone who comes to our doors seeking Christ. Let us hear with urgency God’s word spoken here today and let us act upon it. We can be both Martha and Mary at the same time.