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Daily Archives: July 16, 2022

MARY AND MARTHA OF BETHANY


MARY AND MARTHA OF BETHANY

(A biblical reflection on the 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time [Year C] – 17 July  2022)

Gospel Reading: Luke 10:38-42
 
First Reading: Genesis 18:1-10; Psalms: Psalm 15:2-5; Second Reading: Colossians 1:24-28
 
The Scripture Text
Now as they went on their way, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha received Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to His teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving; and she went to Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things; one thing is needful. Mary has chosen the good portion, which shall not be taken away from her.”(Luke 10:38-42 RSV)
 
The small valley-town of Bethany, where Martha, Mary and Lazarus lived, is located just over the mountain from Jerusalem. Today a large church occupies the site which tradition says was the original home of these three close friends of Jesus. Located about 500 feet up the eastern slope of the Mount of Olives is the tomb from which Lazarus was called forth, after he had died.
 
Our Gospel today tells of a casual visit Jesus made to His wrangling Bethany family. Exactly how or why He had developed such a close personal relationship with these three people, we are not told; but John tells us that “Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus very much” (John 11:5).
 
This was not a typical family, since it consisted of two single women and a bachelor brother. Lazarus was possibly somewhat of a recluse, besides being sickly, and needed to be cared for by his two sisters – for in the various passages we never have one word from him. Mary appears to have been shy and introspective, while Martha was aggressive, outspoken and undoubtedly the one in charge of the household. In spite of their varied temperaments and peculiar personalities, they shared a mutual love for Jesus – although their common love for each other left some room for improvement.
 
Martha shows her complete ease in the presence of Jesus by her chiding remark about His sitting and talking to Mary, while she has to do all the work. In essence she subtly said: “What I am doing is more important than what you are saying.” Jesus, however, defended Mary’s right to sit and talk – and indirectly invited the energetic Martha to join them and leave the housework until later. The Lord no doubt smiled and shook His head gently as He spoke her name twice with the suggestion that she sit down and relax. There is a time to work and a time to visit – and now was the time to visit, as Mary was doing. He would not ask her to clean the house or prepare a snack.
 
Don’t we all get caught up to some degree in the Martha syndrome? We rush about, shouting at others, constantly on edge and filled with tension, doing all our “good works” with a lousy attitude. A change of pace is vitally important for all people. We are often asked, “What do you do?” Maybe the follow-up should be, “How well do you do it?” In all our activities and in everything we do, Jesus is close to us; He wants us to know His presence.
 
Setting aside some time each day for personal meditation can help us to work more effectively and purposefully. The moments we sit at the feet of Jesus are not “down time”, for being alone with the Lord in thought and prayer can melt away tensions. The more we look into His gentle face, the more we begin to smile – for then we realize that He is in charge and everything is not on our shoulders.
 
The primary point of the story is that the Lord visits those who love Him. God wants to visit us, to have a warm fellowship with us. The question is, how do we receive Him?
 
Prayer: Heavenly Father, we thank You, because You have given us the Holy Spirit to move us to recognize You and to enable us to open our hearts to You. We can also choose the better portion, and be attentive to You as we listen to Your dearly beloved Son, Jesus Christ, and serve others. Amen.
 
Jakarta, 16 July 2022
 
A Christian Pilgrim
 
 

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MATTHEW 12:15 (Today’s Gospel Reading: Matthew 12:14-21)

Jakarta, 16 July 2022

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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