The Lesson of Martha – take 2

July 21, 2013 at 5:48 pm (Faith) (, )

I had Children’s Liturgy of the Word today, and why that always happens the morning after a late night, I do not know. I was grateful though, because as I drank a few cups of coffee and looked over the readings for today, I had a new thought about today’s gospel story about Mary and Martha.

I’ve written about this story before. And I have a draft of another post about it too. So it’s obviously one that sticks with me. And if I’m totally honest, it has always kind of bugged me.

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.”

I’m such a Martha. I recently saw a sign somewhere, probably Pinterest, the source of all stress, that said “Good moms have sticky floors, messy kitchens, laundry piles, dirty ovens and happy kids.” I’m a terrible mom by that yardstick! I can’t abide a mess. Can’t we all be happy in a nice clean and tidy house? In fact wouldn’t we be happiER in one?

Anyway. The same goes for today’s gospel – I always find myself sympathizing with Martha. I’m certain that Martha made Jesus and Mary and the other guests more comfortable with her efforts. I’m sure that she fed them well and saw to their needs. You can just tell. And I’ve always felt like Jesus was saying in the story that Martha shouldn’t have done that stuff and should have sat and listened with Mary. But today I wondered if maybe I’ve been reading it wrong. I think Jesus rebuked Martha not for doing the serving, her job, but for not valuing it, for not recognizing her contributions.

Well, and maybe a little for being a whiner.


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Why I Am Still a Catholic

July 9, 2013 at 12:59 am (Faith, Kids, Politics) (, , )

It’s a question I get asked a fair amount. How can you stay in the Church, after the child abuse scandal? when they won’t ordain women? with their stance on homosexuality/health care/contraception?

I sometimes feel like I’m targeted in a special way since I’m a political liberal, and that’s supposed to make me above religion, or beyond it, or something.

I answer that question differently based on the questioner, the day, and maybe especially, my mood, but today my answer would for sure be “the personnel.”

I was sitting with my oldest child before her audition. She was calmly flipping through the pages of a fashion magazine, (and how do I have a child old enough to care about fashion magazines?) and I was freaking out. Not outwardly of course. Outwardly I was able to maintain some semblance of cool thanks to a miracle of multitasking, as I both looked at these shoes, that bag and especially this nail polish, and simultaneously offered up prayers to Saints Genesius, Vitus and Cecilia.

Genesius was a 4th century Roman actor who was performing in a play satirizing Christian baptism when he himself felt the truth of what he was mocking and converted on the spot. Unfortunately the emperor Diocletian was not amused and ordered his execution. Talk about a bad review. Ba dum bum.

Vitus was also executed by Diocletian as it turns out. He wasn’t a performer himself, but became known as the patron of dancers when a cult from the Middle Ages prayed by dancing before his statue. Rather more unfortunately, it also gave his name to a neurological disorder, but nobody’s perfect.

Cecilia is the patroness of music and musicians, also a martyr, and the most well-known of the three I expect. However, I didn’t know until just now that she wasn’t a musician herself, but rather she heard “heavenly music” in her heart. The dates aren’t right for that music to have been J.S. Bach, but whatever. The Lord works in mysterious ways.

Anyway, I passed the fifteen minutes before my daughter went in for her audition, and the half an hour it took until it was over, saying a few prayers, researching who Saints Genesius, Vitus and Cecilia were, and writing this post. I texted my Jewish husband, asking him, “What do non-Catholics do in situations like this?” He ignored me, being well practiced in that art. But seriously, I was so grateful to have some company while I waited. And there is a saint for every situation and every occasion, always there for the asking. Before I knew it, she was done, it was over, and I had only sprouted two or three new grey hairs.

So you can keep your lonely religions, and your no religions. That’s totally fine by me, I promise! Me, I’m too much of a basketcase. I need at least a saint a day – look, today I needed three in the space of 45 minutes! So I’m a Catholic. Check in with me a different day and I’ll give you a different reason.

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