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Sunday Message 18th July 2010
Saturday, July 17th 2010

Choosing the better part Lk 10:38-42
In today’s Gospel Jesus has dinner in the house of two sisters, Martha and Mary. While Martha does the household tasks, Mary sits at Jesus’ feet and listens to what he has to say. When Martha complains, Jesus tells her that Mary Has chosen the better part.
This story is not about whether or not Mary was too lazy to help her sister. In Jesus’ time, to ‘sit at the feet’ of someone was the position of a disciple. This story is really a discussion about whether or not women could play an equal part as disciples of Jesus. Many teachers would not have admitted women as disciples, and some Rabbis frowned upon teaching scripture to women. The story of Martha and Mary makes it clear that Jesus supports women’s discipleship. He says: “Mary has chosen the better part.” She along with all women, is called to take her place as an equal follower of Jesus.
During the time of Jesus, women were, on the whole, forbidden to teach. A woman also had no right to bear witness, because it was concluded from Genesis 18:15 that she was a liar. Genesis 18:15 simply says the words, “Sarah was afraid, so she lied.” This one line of scripture confirmed suspicions that women could not be trusted. Like a child or a slave, a woman could not bear witness. And she was always under the authority of a man, either her father or her husband. It was a culture that had a very low opinion of women.
In this sort of environment, we can see how radical Jesus’ behaviour was. By encouraging women to be disciples, he was overturning the customs of his day.

Look at your work/ life balance, your daily routine. Are you working too hard? Are you too busy? Do you allow for what is important in life? Reflect also on your treatment of others. Is it fair?

Ask the Lord to help you to have a deeper awareness of the needs of those around you.

*The disciple is one who sits at the feet of Jesus
*For the Chrisian, only one thing is nesessary- to listen to and be fed by the Lord
*Hospitality is the gift of attentiveness to the needs of others

“Lord, help me to take the time to listen quietly to you. Amen.”

For the ‘doers’ among us, Jesus’ response to Martha can sound harsh. We can almost hear her mutter, “Well, if I don’t do it, it’ll never get done!” Jesus visits the sisters because they offer him, in different ways, the kind of hospitiality he longs for. Constantly with people, he needs to be able to sneak away from the crowds and simply be with friends.
Hospitality is not always about being with someone and listening to him or her. It is about being still and silent and just being open and available to another. Often because we are generous, we want to take care of others’ needs but sometimes there is a danger that this is a defence against just being there for him or her.
Hospitality is about bing attentive to the deeper needs of another human being. Both Martha and Mary are hospitable but Mary is deeply attentive and this is what we are called to be also. Even as ‘doers’ we need to know when it is best to be still and “say nothing at all”.



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