Hospitality and Discipleship

I like walking, and for many years now have tried to walk around 10km/day. Ideally this is bushwalking, but with our constant rain and flooding, many areas are closed, damaged, or way too muddy for pleasant walking. Instead, I now do lots of urban walking. I enjoy exploring new housing estates that surround our region. Public areas are great. Lots of parks + pathways.

The private areas mostly showcase the worst of current developments. They houses look nice, but they exhibit a fortress mentality. Sociologists debate what changed over the last century in the way that our neighbourhoods were designed and the interaction between private and public spaces. What was the thing that changed the openness to the community that once characterised our housing stock? Air con? Automatic garage doors? Security concerns or emphasis? Malls rather than corner stores?

Our sense of hospitality is radically different. Abraham at the Oak of Mamre shows beautiful hospitality.

Likewise in Martha’s house there is exemplary hospitality. Often this Gospel has been interpreted as the divide between the active and contemplative lives. But that dramatically misses the true nuance of this Gospel. Just as last week, Jesus busted the boundaries both neighbour and despised foreigner, so also today he busts the male conceived ideal of clear spaces between male and female spaces challenged. Martha is compliant by staying within the feminine space (food preparation). But Mary totally breaks it by assuming the role of a disciple, sitting at the feet of Jesus the Rabbi to learn from him. And Jesus does not seem to have any issue with this at all, and welcomes her as a disciple.

  • First Reading ‡ Genesis 18:1-10
    Lord, do not bypass your servant.
  • Responsorial ‡ Psalm 14:2-5
    The just will live in the presence of the Lord.
  • Second Reading ‡ Colossians 1:24-28
    The mystery hidden for centuries has now been revealed to his saints.
  • Gospel ‡ Luke 10:38-42
    Martha took up the duties in the house. Mary chose the better part.
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