Mission Report - July 25, 2019
author: Geoff Brodie
Welcome to Term Three and all the challenges and opportunities we shall offer each other.
The Gospel for last Sunday was the account of Jesus in the house of Martha and Mary.
As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!" "Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her." (Luke 10:38-42)
Whilst there is much to consider in this short passage, we are also left wondering about what has been left out. What was the reaction of Martha to Jesus’ answer? Did Mary help her sister after all? Does Jesus mean that we should put aside the duties of hospitality and responsibility to pursue only spiritual values? Could Jesus enjoy the food that Martha was preparing after such a comment? What exactly is the ‘one thing’ needed that Jesus refers to? Some early manuscripts have Jesus saying that ‘few’ things are needed. Does that make a difference?
Perhaps Jesus is calling us to a distilled wisdom that orders our busy lives – the wisdom that gives us a sense of timing. At times we must choose to work hard to get everyday jobs completed, especially if others are relying on us. Sometimes we must drop everything simply to abide in the presence of someone who needs us to be fully present. Jesus’ conclusion emphasises the fact that Mary has made a choice in that moment, and it was the right one. We cannot diminish our responsibility to be aware of everything going on, to understand the needs and wants of others in the full reality of the moment, to wisely judge what is the right choice, and to have the courage to live out that choice, regardless of ‘practical’ impacts. Every new moment needs another wise choice, and we cannot hide behind old routines as a way of ignoring new challenges.
A school is a perfect place to grow in such wisdom. There is the balance we seek between study and relaxation, between week-days and weekends, between the fun of friendship and the attentiveness of class, between holding firm in a stance and being willing to grow into a new horizon. The one constant is that love is the highest wisdom that we can choose. To love is to choose what is better, and that will not be taken away from us. May we all grow this term in the wisdom that springs from the choice of love