Martha and Mary

Sunday Reflection—Martha, Mary, and Catholic Fullness

PARABLE OF THE GOOD SAMARITAN Luke’s story of Mary and Martha of Bethany, sisters of Lazarus, teaches us about hospitality, service, action, contemplation, and distraction in pursuit of the Catholic Fullness. The Mass readings for the Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) are Genesis 18:1-10; Psalms 15:2-3, 3-4, 5; Colossians 1:24-28; Luke 10:38-42. I once received a harsh letter from […]

The Real Lesson from Martha

"Christ in the House of Mary and Martha" (detail) by Johannes Vermeer

“Let’s not be too hasty to set up Martha as the bad sister, nor to judge her service as the problem.” Martha, Martha… Familiar words greet us in this Sunday’s Gospel. Much ink has been spilled on the sisters at Bethany, Mary and Martha. They have long been seen as metaphors for the active and contemplative life, although there’s a […]

Ungrudging Hospitality

A few weeks ago, a friend reached out to me because she and her mother were looking for a place to stay while in my city for a week-long training. I offered to host them, since I had the space to offer and I was happy to have the chance to catch up. As I was preparing their bedroom, making […]

The Distraction of Busyness

Photography © by Andy Coan

I once got a harsh letter from a Baptist lady protesting that she could not find the word “Catholic” anywhere in the Bible. True, the earliest occurrence of the term is in a letter of St. Ignatius of Antioch, written twenty years after the last book of the New Testament.  But the idea that the Church is “catholic” pops up everywhere […]

Daily Catholic Quote from St. Augustine of Hippo

St. Augustine of Hippo (detail) by Sandro Botticelli

“Our Lord’s words teach us that though we labor among the many distractions of this world, we should have but one goal. For we are but travellers on a journey without as yet a fixed abode; we are on our way, not yet in our native land; we are in a state of longing, not yet of enjoyment. But let […]

The Danger of Martha’s Vindication

"Christ in the House of Mary and Martha" (detail) by Johannes Vermeer

I have noticed a troubling trend in past years when the Gospel reading about Mary and Martha’s encounter with Christ surfaces. Of course we all know the passage: “Now as they went on their way, he entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the […]