Hospitality is a lot of work, and often more work than many want to do. Quick and easy and simple govern the planning for hospitality. More than once I’ve had guests stay at a nearly hotel rather than be in my home. Typically they are just as happy, likewise, to do so.

As in the house of Martha and Mary everything in th house is topsy-turvy, apt least that is the impression from Luke’s account with the language is Greek suggesting tumult. Martha is depicted as a person who normally seems to like control of things; who can blame her!

It’s not only all the prep, it’s the listening to the guest, which is the moment that the hospitality gets really serious. Travelers always have stories to tell, and sometimes it’s like being invited over to someone’s house to watch the slides and videos they took of their recent European tour vacation, which can be very boring.

Mary listens to Jesus. He is telling the stories of the journey to Jerusalem, stories about how the reign of God is lived out on the way to the heavenly banquet in Jerusalem. The journey is not without cost. The road to heaven is the narrow way, the climb up the mountain is difficult.

No more than Jesus leaves the house of Martha and Mary, refreshed no doubt by their hospitality, he is off in the wilderness at prayer and he offers a longer teaching on praying.

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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