In the Gospel reading for this coming Sunday, note the first sentence, “Martha welcomed him.” This implies that Martha was the home owner and an independent woman, not subject to a man. Attention to women is part of Luke’s interest in his Gospel. The word “διακονειν” appears in verse 40 twice, once as a noun and another as a verb. Surely by the time Luke was writing and being a student of St. Paul, he was aware of how that word had become a specific ministry of service in the apostolic church. Luke perhaps is pointing to the specific role of Martha, among the wealthy women who served the Lord out of their wealth as a believer and close friend. Martha, indeed, is portrayed as giving the orders around the house. She is relatively blunt about telling Jeus to have Mary assist her. The two words that are translated as “anxious and worried” are not the strongest words for these feelings. “Worried” does suggest a bit of “an uproar” about something. The point, however is about the hospitality of listening and making space for the guest, hence in Luke’s Gospel it follows the story of the Good Samaritan.

Alan Hartway

Theological Studies at Catholic Theological Union, Chicago IL; Master of Fine Arts, Poetics, at Naropa University, Boulder CO 1996; Master of Arts, Greek Classics, University of Colorado, Boulder CO 2012; Taught at Naropa University from 1999 through 2015; Chair of Interdisciplinary Studies from 2007-2015; Member of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, Kansas City Province since 1974; Pastor at Guardian Angel Catholic Church, Mead, CO, ministry from 2007-2020 Currently Retired

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