Home
Bulletin Letter
St. Paul Home
Calendar
Bulletins
Bulletin Letters
July 15, '07
July 8, '07
July 1, '07
June 24, '07
June 17, '07
June 10,  '07
June 3, 2007
May 27, 2007
May 20, 2007
May 13, 2007
May 6, 2007
April 29, 2007
April 22, 2007
April 15, 2007
April 8, 2007
April 1, 2007
Mar. 25, 2007
Mar. 18, 2007
Mar. 11, 2007
Mar. 4, 2007
Feb. 25, 2007
Feb. 18, 2007
Feb. 11, 2007
Feb. 4, 2007
Jan. 21, 2007
Jan 14, 2007
Jan. 7, 2007
Dec. 31, 2006
Dec. 24, 2006
Dec. 17, 2006
Dec. 10, 2006
Dec. 3, 2006
Nov. 26, 2006
Nov. 19, 2006
Nov. 12, 2006
Nov. 5, 2006
Oct. 29, 2006
Oct. 22, 2006
Oct. 15, 2006
Oct. 8, 2006
Oct. 1, 2006
Sept. 24, 2006
Sept. 17, 2006
Sept. 10, 2006
Sept. 3, 2006
Aug. 27, 2006
Aug. 20, 2006
Aug. 13, 2006
Aug. 6, 2006
July 30, 2006
July 23, 2006
July 16, 2006
July 9, 2006
July 2, 2006
June 25, 2006
June 18, 2006
June 11, 2006
June 4, 2006
May 28, 2006
May 21, 2006
May 14, 2006
May 7, 2006
Apr. 30, 2006
Apr. 23, 2006
Apr. 16, 2006
Apr. 9, 2006
Apr. 2, 2006
Mar. 26, 2006
Mar. 19, 2006
Mar. 12, 2006
Mar. 5, 2006
Feb. 26, 2006
Feb. 19, 2006
Feb. 12, 2006
Feb. 5, 2006
Jan. 29, 2006
Jan. 22, 2006
Jan. 15, 2006
Jan. 8, 2006
Jan. 1, 2006
Dec. 25, 2005
Dec. 18, 2005
Dec. 11, 2005
Dec. 4, 2005
Nov. 27, 2005
Nov. 20, 2005
Nov. 13, 2005
Nov. 6, 2005
Oct. 30, 2005
Oct. 23, 2005
Oct. 16, 2005
Oct. 9, 2005
Oct. 2, 2005
Sept. 25, 2005
Sept. 18, 2005
Sept. 11, 2005
Aug. 28, 2005
Aug. 21, 2005
Aug. 14, 2005
Aug. 7, 2005
July 31, 2005
July 24, 2005
June 26, 2005
June 19, 2005
June 12, 2005
June 5, 2005
May 29, 2005
May 22, 2005
May 15, 2005
May 8, 2005
May 1, 2005
April 24, 2005
April 17, 2005
April 10, 2005
April 3, 2005
March 27, 2005
March 20, 2005
March 13, 2005
March 6, 2005
Feb. 27, 2005
Feb. 20, 2005
Feb. 13, 2005
Feb. 6, 2005
Jan. 30, 2005
Jan. 23, 2005
Jan 16, 2005
Jan. 9, 2005

Pointing at the bulletin letter's date (link) at left will display it's title.
July 22, 2007
Martha and Mary. . .Which Challenges You the Most?

    We are all familiar with the popular story told by Luke about Jesus’ visit to Bethany.  He is traveling through town on his way to Jerusalem and decides to accept the cultural habit of hospitality afforded him at the home of his friend Lazarus.  The story very soon turns to the two sisters Martha and Mary.  Both knew and liked Jesus.  Like all siblings, the two sisters were very different in their personality and habits.  Martha was the traditional woman who saw her womanly duties as service to the guests.  Mary, on the other hand,  was willing to take the flack on not being the “traditional” woman.  She wanted to hear what Jesus had to say.  She wanted to be in his company.

    Daniel Harrington, S.J. has some very interesting insights into this scripture passage. The idea that women were not usually accepted, much less invited, to be with the men in their discussions is a point that is rarely mentioned with respect to this story but it is a fact.  Mary is a woman who dares to break the tradition and evidently willing to suffer the consequences.  The flip side of this scene is that Jesus, a Jewish man, well versed in his culture, proceeds to defend Mary’s presence.  This can be seen as a very strong affirmation of the importance of women in the Church.  Jesus did not simply suffer Mary’s presence or suggest that she leave when Martha complained.  He actually stood up for her.  One can only wonder what Jesus would do today.

    A second point that is very interesting with respect to our present day lives is the fact that Martha if frustrated because she has too much work to do and cannot find the time to sit and relax.  If we fail to think things through we can easily fall into the trap of thinking that Martha was a product of her cultural heritage.  As modern day Americans we find ourselves very fortunate not to have to experience the drudgery of entertaining without all the modern appliances.  Poor Martha, we think, we are so lucky not to have lived in those days.  She would have been so happy to have our conveniences.  But would she?

    If we take a few moments to reflect on our own lives, isn’t it true that we are no better than Martha?  How many of us constantly feel bombarded with work?  And, isn’t it true that all these modern conveniences,  including computers and household appliances, rarely serve to reduce our work.  They simply serve to impose new burdens on our lives.  Since we have these conveniences we take on more and more work thinking that it will take us no time at all to accomplish the task.  

    Why does Jesus tell Martha that Mary has chosen the better part?  Perhaps because he realizes that busyness gets us nowhere spiritually.  It most often leads to burnout, which can lead to physical or emotional dis-ease.  We become anxious, depressed, angry, or irritable and our relationships suffer the consequences.  We are unhappy and we don’t know where to turn.

    Perhaps the moral of today’s Gospel is that we need to be better balanced.  We need to see both sides of the coin and be somewhat like Martha, i.e., willing to serve, and somewhat like Mary, i.e., willing to relax and be with our God.  For many of us, this could be a challenge, but do we have a choice?  Perhaps not! 

                                Lorette P. Nault