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July 17, 1998     The Message
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14 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana Martha and Mary: Women in Jesus" By FATHER DONALD DILGER Columnist Gospel Commentary for July 19, 1998: Sixteenth Sunday: Ordinary Time: Cycle C: Luke 10:38-42 Jesus enters a town where he is the guest of a woman named Martha. She has a sister called Mary. Mary sat at Jesus' feet, while Martha prepared a meal. Martha was upset at what seemed to be her sister's laziness and complained to Jesus, "Don't you care, Lord, that my sister has left me with all the work? Tell her to help me." Jesus kindly admonishes her about her hyperactivity. There is only one necessity. Mary made the right choice, and she will be allowed to continue doing so. Peoe inclined to activity will instinctively rally to Martha's cause and point fingers at lazy Mary, but this is obviously not what Luke intended when he included titfory in his gospel, his catechism. There were other Martha/Mary stories circulat- ing at the time when the gospels were written. The Gospel of John gives a prominent role to Martha and Mary in the final week of Jesus' life. Their brother Lazarus' death is the occasion for Jesus' final and greatest sign or miracle in that gospel. Whether or not Luke even knew of such a tradition cannot be learned from his gospel. If he did, it would seem strange that he would omit such a stupendous miracle as recalling to life a man who had been buried four days, a mira- cle done before huge crowds of people from Jerusalem. Only Luke has the Martha/Mary story of today's gospel, although there may be some trace of it in John 12:2-7, where Jesus has supper at the house of the three siblings. Recalling that a gospel is not only Good News but is intended as a catechism in story form for the Church, what is Luke teaching here? The context into which he puts this story will be of some help. A prin- ciple of interpretation of the gospels is to examine what precedes or follows a certain segment. Immedi- ately preceding the story of Martha and Mary is the parable of the Good Samaritan, last Sunday's gospel. By that story Luke demonstrated that even a non-Jew, a despised Samaritan, could be a disciple of Jesus Luke had already enunciated that principle when he depicted Jesus telling his disciples not to forbid some- one to cast out devils in Jesus' name, even if that per- son was not openly a follower of Jesus, "Whoever is not against you is for you." So much for Samaritans. Luke immediately turns to another group need- ing affirmation in his time, women. By the story of and Martha Luke demon:s, trates that women, can be disciples of Jesus, and'that they can be disciples in various roles. Martha, like the Good Samaritan, displays her discipleship through serving others. Luke teaches that there is another way, a way he considers the foundation of active love, listening to Jesus as Mary does. Note that Jesus does not repu- diate Martha's work. He very gently instructs her that listening to his word is more important. Martha's activity in the story is called in the Greek "diakonia," which at that time was a technical word for ministry among Christians. Therefore Martha's work is por- trayed as being acceptable to Jesus. The lesson seems to be that ministry which bypasses listening to the words of Jesus cannot be a ministry that will endure. Listening to the word of Jesus is "the better part" which can never be taken away. Later Christian writ- ers would say, "Activity will cease. Contemplation will go on forever." But more about the role of women in Luke's July 17; 1 gospel. He had before him the Gospel of Mark, and perhaps other such writings. Luke implies the exis- tence of such literature when he writes in the pro- logue to his gospel, "...many have put together a narrative of the things accomplished among us." He seems to add a mild rebuke to those "many" when he continues,".., it seemed good to me also.., to write a well-ordered In other words, Luke intends to correct or at least improve upon what had been done before. Women do not fare well in the Gospel of Jesus' mother seems to be among the family who come to seize Jesus because they mentally unbalanced. Later when he is mother and brothers want to see him, he does not acknowledge them but points to his family. Luke drastically corrects the 1 of Mary. In Luke's gospel she becomes Jesus' first ciple. In his second olume, Acts of becomes the mother of the Christian wnen who so faithfully'o'tlowed Jesus eventually abandon him like everyone Gospel of Mark. They are told by the the tomb to announce Jesus' ples, but they run away frightened and to anyone. Not so, says Luke. In his version the, women returning from the tomb told all this to eleven disciples and everybody else." Luke consider the women's report as so it goes. The story of Martha and and friends of Jesus, is one among many Luke demonstrating that women are also Jesus, and sometimes superior to men. Our could use some updating on this matter. Readings: Genesis 18:1-10a; Colossians 10:38-42. FIRST Savings Washington & - Ed. L. Mortuary 101 North Meridian Washington, IN Golden Jubilarians Nicholas and Ellamae (Smith) Okruch of Evansville will cele- brate their fiftieth wedding anniversary with a dinner for fami- ly and invited guests July 18 at the Old Mill. They were married July 17, 1948, at Sacred Heart Church, Charleston, W.Va. They are thi; parents of three children: Katherine Schappler of Colum- bus, Mary Ann McCann of St. Louis, and Nicholas Okruch Jr., of Louisville. They have nine grandchildren. Mr. Okruch is retired from EB. & S. Chemical in Henderson, Ky. Mrs. Okruch is retired from Bunzl, Inc. of Evansville. Main Street Pharmacy 217 E. Main St.. Downtown Washington Phone: 254-5141 Golden Jubilarians Ray and Charlyne (Wilm) Dewig of Haubstadt will celebrate their fiftieth wedding anniversary with family and friends from 2 to 6 p.m. July 25 at the Haubstadt Community Park. A Mass of Thanksgiving will be held July 27 at Sts. Peter and Paul Church. They were married July 27,1948, at Sts. Peter and Paul Church. Msgr. Clarence Lindauer officiated. They are the parents of five sons, Don and Tim, both of Haubstadt, and Ron, Richard and Chris, all of Evansville, and three daughters, Ellen Utley of Haub- stadt, and Cheryl Rietman and Sandy Pfister, both of Evansville. They have 18 grandchildren, and six step-grandchildren. Mr. Dewig operated Dewig Elevator Inc. for 36 years; he is now semi- retired. Mrs. Dewig retired from Will's Corner in 1993; she is a homemaker. - bXV/Hf/O-0000 ,ta0 .Atr Kactmn  las& Ssmm  noar .......... INC. 118W. 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