Gospel Reflection July 21 – Fr. Morris
Sunday, July 21
Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Luke 10: 38-42
Jesus entered a village
where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him.
She had a sister named Mary
who sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak.
Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said,
“Lord, do you not care
that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving?
Tell her to help me.”
The Lord said to her in reply,
“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things.
There is need of only one thing.
Mary has chosen the better part
and it will not be taken from her.”
One thing we often gloss over in this familiar Gospel is that Martha and Mary are sisters. So while we can easily read this Gospel as condemning Martha’s activism and praising Mary’s contemplative languor, we should also notice that this a classic case of both/and. Because they are sisters–a duo, a team, a partnership–Mary’s attentive entertaining of their honored guests can only exist alongside Martha’s diligence in the finer points of hosting.
If only one sister was present… then Martha would probably have well-fed but bored guests, while Mary’s guests would be having a swell time but with growling stomachs.
These two sisters are the patron saints of “balance” in Christian discipleship. Sure, “faith without works is dead” but “works without faith” is also a big problem.
Prayer and then action, listening and then doing, waiting patiently and then engaging fervently: this symbiosis is necessary for a follower of Jesus Christ.