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LK 10: 38-42
7th S. after Pentecost

There's a generosity of spirit in this household at Bethany. Most of us can bring at least one such household to mind. A place where we can graciously accept hospitality that is graciously given. Martha & Mary are both extravagant in their own way; the one with her cooking & caring, the other with her attention giving (in this case, to Jesus). Both reflect God's own amazing generosity to us all.

Interestingly, in JN 11, after Lazarus' death, there's at least an element of role-reversal. It's Mary who goes out to meet Jesus & talk theology, while Mary stays at home (passing coffee & cake for those calling to offer condolences?). Warning for us all: beware of locking people into roles. Both working & listening, praying & 'practical Christianity' are necessary, & both need to be part of our 'whole armour of God'.

When Jesus tells Martha, '"There's need of only one thing", he puts his finger on both the starting point of our spiritual journey - listening to God - & at the same time, the meeting point of 'spiritual' & 'practical'. Doing for others what our listening to God moves us towards. I can be neither gracious nor generous, not even genuinely open to others except as God's Spirit makes me gracious, generous, & open.

If someone were to ask me, "Of all the households / homes in history, which one would you most like to visit?" I reckon I'd want to respond, "Could I choose two?" One, of course, would be that of the Holy Family; & the other would be Mary, Martha, & L's home at Bethany. In both there was that divine meeting point where the 'spiritual' & the 'practical' are so melded into one as to be indistinguishable.