Only Jesus is necessary. The men and the women who hear and follow him make the right choice that no one can take away from them.
Jesus says that it is necessary that he suffers greatly in Jerusalem. And in due time he makes up his mind to go there. But on the way there with his followers, he goes into a village where Martha welcomes him in her home.
At home with Martha was her sister Mary. There are only three of them. For there is no mention of anyone else. It is the women’s hour, as it was when Mary visited Elizabeth (J.A. Pagola). Jesus gives Martha and Mary a leading role that society hardly gives to women.
No doubt, part of the teaching is that it is necessary that we overcome sexism. In the same way that we must get over racism, as the parable of the Good Samaritan teaches also. Even though, or because, sexism and racism have turned up in high places.
Women friends and followers of Jesus are as necessary as men friends and followers.
Martha and Jesus are undoubtedly trusting friends. That is why she can scold him gently. And that is why he also can correct her, lovingly saying her name twice. She is as worthy of his friendship as any of his male followers.
And Jesus is not at all pitting Mary’s listening against Martha’s doing. After all, one has to hear and do the word (Jas 1, 22). What he warns against is “indiscreet zeal” that leads to burn-out (The Way of Vincent de Paul 68).
Mary, on the other hand, takes the stance of the disciple as she sits at the teacher’s feet, listening. She is, then, a model follower; she listens to the Word. And no one can take this away from her. Yes, powerful people took away from women roles that were theirs before. But Providence turns to women again and again, so that they may do what is necessary to help the neediest (see SV.EN XIIIb:432).
Yes, Jesus calls both men and women to listen to him as his friends and followers.
And both men and women are to understand that only Jesus is necessary.
In simple Vincentian terms, Jesus Christ is our father, our mother, and our all (SV.EN V:537). He is himself our strength and our life, our leader and our guide (SV.EN VIII:20; SV.EN XI:43). Also, he is the rule of the mission, and it is up to us to listen to his words (SV.EN XII:110). Is there, then, a friend better than he whom we should welcome as guest and to whom we must to listen as our teacher? And no reflection, commentary, devotion or social media post can take his place.
Lord Jesus, we feed on your word and sacrament. Make us know even more that only you are necessary.
21 July 2019
16th Sunday in O.T. (C)
Gen 18, 1-10a; Col 1, 24-28; Lk 10, 38-42
Tags: A Vincentian reading of the Sunday readings, Ross Dizon