Woman at The Teacher’s feet

Missionary Weekly Reflection
Sixteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time, 21 July 2019
Gen. 18:1-10a; Ps. 15:2-3ab, 3cd-4ab,5; Col. 1:24-28; Luk. 10:38-42

Luke’s famous short story. Two women are the main characters. They are Martha and Mary. This is uncommon. The female character is normally left without a name. We have to understand, that in the era of Luke they were the citizen of second class. Why did Luke make an exception in this story? It is clear because both were equally qualified. Isn’t that Jesus clearly praised Mary and critizeed Martha? Yes it is, but what was Jesus “struggling” for? We are often got trapped in comparison. Human likes comparing: beauty, wealth, cleverness, etc. From comparing to competing, harassing, underestimating, marginalizing each other, etc. This is also the most-read story as the competition of two women: one is busy in the kitchen and serving the guest, another one is sitting and listening to the Teacher. Two ways of discipleship are met: devotion vs service, action vs contemplation, work vs pray, etc. Let us take a moment to change our setting and reading lens.

Martha is an example of hospitality. In accordance with her name which means “madam”, Martha initiated to receive Jesus in her home. Don’t forget, Jesus and His disciples were on their journey. For the Preacher and His disciples, travelling on a long trip was absolutely exhausted, Martha’s hospitality was truly valuable. Martha was busy to serve God. Paying respect to a guest is a priority: guest is a king, even God (cf. first reading). Then, why did Jesus criticize Martha? Jesus definitely did not reproach her hospitality and works. What Jesus rejected from her was: a woman is not just a servant, who is busy in the kitchen serving the guest. Jesus promotes a new self-image and role.

Mary became the new role model. She was the example of good female disciple. Jewish rabbis could not receive female disciple. Studying the Torah was only for man’s obligation. Mary precisely broke the old order which was not evenly distributed. Mary was dare to choose the new role: sitting at Jesus’ feet and listen to Him. That is the position and attitude of a disciple. Disciple is the first listener and doer of the words. That is best part. Hospitality, busyness and accommodation for evangelist are important, but they must flow from the self-identity as Gospel listener. Woman has the same right as man in becoming God’s disciple. This is certainly unusual for the context of Jesus’ time and the early Church. Discrimination among the disciples might still happen today. Women are still limited to a certain role in church. They are the second priority. Discipleship of equals is still our homework. Do not let the old perspective and mentality still root: let the woman keep on taking care of the house and serve the male guest! Jesus criticizes Martha and us if we are still living with the old mentality and perspective. Equal to man, the woman has the same right to choose the best role for herself: sitting at the Teacher’s feet, listening and carrying our His words. That is our position and self-identity as His disciple, both man and woman.

(Hortensio Mandaru – Indonesia Bible Society)


Lord, our Father, I present my today prayer, thought, word, work, joy and sorrow in the unity with Your Son, Jesus Christ, who always presents Himself in the Eucharist for the world salvation. May the Holy Spirit, as the soul of Jesus, also lead and give me the strength today so that I am ready to be the witness of Your love.

Together with St. Mary, Mother of Jesus and the Church, I specially present my prayer to our Pope and Indonesian Church prayer apostles of this month:

For Evangelization intention:
Justice Integrity: May all justice supervisors can work with integrity and strive not to let the world be determined and controlled by injustice. We pray…

For Indonesian Church intention:
Forest Protection: May all human kinds be more aware of taking care of the forest as the lung of the earth and not to utilize and damage it for economic benefits. We pray…

Special intention:
May all people at our diocese inspirit all members of the base community to share the time in quality and full of joy during holiday season or working/school days. We pray…



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