Reflecting on Genesis 18” 1-10a, Luke 10: 38-42
This is funny. Here come three visitors out of the blue, showing up in the desert, and Abraham begs them to come into his tent for “a little food”. Then he sets Sarah to work kneading enough dough to fill a large bakery. I wonder how long it took the servants to kill the steer (surely enough meat to feed the entire population of Beersheba for several years), cook it up and serve it. I hope the three “strangers” weren’t too hungry when they arrived.
The point of such extravagant Bedouin hospitality is to feed and comfort the traveler in the desert, for the day may come when we too may find ourselves in the wilderness and may need the support of strangers. Bottom line: the most important honor one can show a guest is to slave away in the kitchen in order to provide food.
So here is Jesus, eighteen hundred years later, in the home of Martha and Mary. They must have been special friends of Jesus. In other stories featuring them they also have a brother, Lazarus, whom John’s gospel tells us was raised from the dead. But in Luke’s story today it is their home alone, and Jesus has come to spend time with them.
They both must love him and want to honor him. Martha expresses this by preparing the roasted garlic hummus in the kitchen. Mary sits at his feet. And guess what: in the discipleship of equals that is the kingdom of God, she chooses the better part. Once again, Jesus is obsessed with one thing: making sure the proclamation of the kingdom is heard by all.
Are you sometimes too “anxious about many things”?
Kathy McGovern © 2014-2015