After rebuking rigid interpretations of holiness in the parable of the Good Samaritan, Christ now broadens the call to sainthood to include women and reiterates the need to make the pursuit of God one’s absolute priority.

Entering the home of Lazarus and his sisters Martha and Mary in Bethany, Christ begins to teach.  Martha, doing her best in her role as homemaker to prepare and serve food to Jesus (and likely many guests), is overwhelmed by her work.  Mary, enthralled by Christ, sits at His feet, in adoration, learning.  Martha, frustrated and failing, asks Christ, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone?” This is insulting for several reasons: it is delivered with a scolding tone; it assumes Christ is not aware; it assumes that Christ does not care; it seeks to manipulate the Lord into doing Martha’s bidding. Not good.

Surprisingly patient, Christ gently rebukes Martha for being anxious and troubled and for missing the importance of making God her highest priority; He does not assert that Martha’s work is not important, but that work must be subservient to faith. Rather than rebuke Mary, as Martha wished, Christ upholds Mary’s choice to adore and learn from Him as the one thing she needs that won’t be denied from her. Overturning Jewish customs that limited interactions between men and women and that only permitted men to be religious disciples, Jesus openly interacts with women and calls them to be His disciples.

Awed by Jesus Christ – The Son of God, Christ inspires exceptional devotion by those like Martha and Mary who encounter Him. Divine Teacher, who is full of perfect Wisdom, Christ draws the willing to Himself for relationship and learning.  Divine King, Christ calls people to make Him their absolute priority and to fulfill their worldly duties.  Divine Mercy and the Perfection of Virtue, Christ patiently and gently corrects Martha.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) The dignity of women is assaulted by women who stigmatize the vocation of women as wife and mother and by men who abuse women by reducing them to objects. Marvel that Christ breaks religious and cultural norms by calling women into discipleship and upholds the dignity of women.

2) In the hyper-competitive world, men often become stressed and obsessed with making money and achieving career success. Reflect on Christ’s admonishment of Martha’s over-attention on work and pray that He gives you the wisdom to balance the demands of work with the necessity of seeking Christ and sainthood.

3) Many men don’t practice Catholicism, thinking and acting as if the faith is exclusively for women. Though a woman, who is undoubtedly surrounded by male disciples, Mary is the model of putting Christ first. Go to Adoration to sit at Christ’s feet and ask Him to draw you into a more perfect faith, the one thing you truly need and must have.

Spiritual Practices – Include in Today’s Prayers

Sacred Mystery of Rosary – The Glorious Mysteries

Daily Devotion – The Blessed Trinity

Virtue of the Day – Charity

Corporal Work of Mercy – To feed the hungry

Spiritual Work of Mercy – To admonish the sinner