This week the gospel Lectionary text comes from the end of Luke chapter 10. It is a rather clipped story of Jesus accepting hospitality at the home of Martha and her sister Mary. Often I am left wanting more information of what is actually going on in this scene. What is the significance of Luke’s inclusion of this account? Why is there silence from the disciples, who are usually so quick to jump into such things? Is this some kind of calling to discipleship for these women? How many raised eyebrows were there around the table?
There is a sense of occasion here, but we as onlookers are tempted to trivialize the interaction as merely an object lesson for life. “Don’t be like busy Martha, be like content Mary” we might say. Thus we cast ourselves as one of the two kinds of people in life. But I’d like to give Jesus more credit than that. He is continually treating people as whole and wanting them to live as whole people. I wonder if Mary was tasked with something like washing the feet of her esteemed guest, and once finished, simply couldn’t bring herself away. The story too is open ended. Jesus speaks firmly to Martha, who perhaps, hadn’t really looked at her guest until the moment she heard her name, “Martha, Martha”. I like to imagine her response is not like one who is embarrassed or chastised, but a person who is reassured, relieved and truly valued.
Jesus, Hospitable One
Treating us as whole people
Helping us to see our true value
So that in every task we might pray
“I am made whole”