The Word Received
- Reading I: Jonah 3:1-10
- Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 130
- Gospel Reading: Luke 10:38-42
At Jonah’s Preaching Nineveh Repented
Prophets proclaim the Word of God. What sets Jonah above other prophets is that those who heard him actually repented. From the smallest to the greatest in Nineveh, Jonah’s word was received. Even the king made the repentance institutional.
Many centuries after this, one greater than Jonah will remember this story and use it to denounce the generation that was privileged to hear and see Him.
Jonah, the reluctant prophet, was successful in his mission. But as we shall see, he wasn’t happy about it.
Mary and Martha
Martha and Mary are mentioned elsewhere in the Scriptures as the sisters of Lazarus, the friend whom Jesus loved. In this Lucan story, however, no mention is made of Lazarus, and the house which Jesus enters on the way to Jerusalem is said to belong to Martha. The narrative is a pronouncement story about "sitting at the Lord’s feet and hearing his word." The actions of the two sisters towards the Lord are not compared, but rather, the significance of what they do are pointed out. Martha gets herself busy in all the chores that pertain to ministering to the Lord (diakonein) in a gesture of hospitality. Mary too was being hospitable to the Lord: she sat at his feet and listened to his word. The question that Martha raises must be the question that all ministers of the Lord would like to ask: Don’t you care that I am left alone to serve? Tell them to help me. The term diakonein is also the verb used for the ministry. From Acts, we know that there were different forms of ministry which included "table service" (cf. Acts 6:2 and context). The response that the Lord gives is not a rebuke to Martha; he simply underscores the value of what Mary was doing. The "one thing necessary," the "better part", this Mary has chosen, and it shall not be taken away from her.
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