Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Martha, Martha

I know I'm a day late on this, but on yesterday's feast of St. Martha I really wasn't able to do more than a laboriously entered phone message. Besides, I'm still thinking about what the Lord said to St. Martha! And I noticed something.
It is typical in Luke's Gospel for Jesus to repeat a person's name when he has a "good news/bad news" type of announcement. A call to conversion, in other words. It's "Martha, Martha", "Peter, Peter", "Jerusalem, Jerusalem." Even in the Acts of the Apostles, the Risen and Exalted Jesus follows the same modus operandi: "Saul, Saul."
Not only that! Jesus tells his hearers that if they don't carry out his message, one day they will be saying, "Lord, Lord!"
I also noticed an interesting pattern in that section of Luke's Gospel where we find the Martha/Mary story. Just a few paragraphs ahead of that, we have Jesus reminding the disciples, "Blest are the eyes that see what you see." (Boy does that apply to Martha!) Then someone asked Jesus about the greatest commandment in the Law. And Jesus had the man answer his own question: Love the Lord with everything you've got, and love your neighbor as yourself. The very next thing is the parable of the Good Samaritan. This is followed by Martha's frenetic hospitality of the Son of God, and then we get the teaching on how to pray (the Our Father). So there is a subtle "inclusio" of sorts as a commentary on the Law of Love: neighbor (good Samaritan) and God (Our Father) and in the very middle, the story of Martha in which Jesus is both "neighbor" and Lord, the "one thing necessary." Jesus sums up God and neighbor in himself, and the story of Martha and Mary becomes a parable of how to live the Law of Love.


Anonymous said...

Hola, Sr. Anne!
I am most grateful to you for the precious time you have given me on my first visit to Chicago.
For me, it's an example of putting into practice God's law of love when you brought me to significant places that are just near the Pauline Media Center and became my tourist guide.
May your tribe increase in the Pauline Family and in the different Provinces and Delegation Houses of the Daughters of St. Paul!
Wishing you the best in all your apostolic endeavors!
Sr. Alice, fsp (Philippines)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for that commentary on Martha, Martha...I chose the other gospel story from St. John...Martha's declaration of faith in Jesus as Messiah and in the resurrection of the body...lest we only think of her as the fussy sister...I also like to contast Martha and Mary with my boyhood friend who has been at Gethsemani Abbey since 1972. I spent one night there and almost lost my mind...I certainly thive in active ministry and he thrives in the contemplative ministry. I always think Martha got the short end of the stick...even from Jesus. As a social worker friend once said: "someone has to be codependent or noting would ever get done (like dinner, housecleaning, etc.). We each need to find our own way...which, of course, is Jesus, always open to let us be just who his Father made us to be...Can't wait for the CD...put me on the list.
Father Fred