Reflecting on Luke 10: 38-42
Don’t you just love Cycle C? Every three years we cycle around to Luke’s gospel―we hear Matthew (A) and Mark (B) the other two years―but it’s Luke gospel that tells us most of the great stories about the women in the New Testament.
It starts with the very first chapters. Only Luke knows that Mary walked all the way from Nazareth to Ein Karem―about ninety miles, in the earliest stage of her pregnancy―to tell her cousin Elizabeth her astonishing news and to help her with the birth of her own miraculous child.
Luke knows about the prophetess Anna in the Temple, about the healing of the woman bent double whom Jesus calls “daughter of Abraham.” Women star in some of the parables, like the woman who sweeps all night in search of a lost coin, or the widow who bangs on the door of the judge all night until he is so aggravated he actually gives her justice.
And now, today, this marvelous Lukan story about two of Jesus’ very closest friends, Martha and Mary. We see the ending coming before it gets there. Jesus, birthed of woman, taught the scriptures by his mother―note that Mary is quoting the great Old Testament woman Hannah (I Sm. 2: 1-10) when she sings her Magnificat to Elizabeth (1: 46-55,)― supported by women in his ministry (8: 2, 3,) and so beloved of Mary of Magdala that all four gospels name her as the first to testify to his resurrection, gets it. He’s seen the strictures that kept women in their place.
With just a few words he sets both women free. And wow, does Martha burst forth. This servant and disciple becomes, in the last gospel, the very first person to recognize Jesus as the Christ (John 11:27).
Which charism are you more drawn to, service or contemplation?
Kathy McGovern ©2016