Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.
This quote from Luke’s gospel supports women’s practice of reflecting on the Word of God. In this blog, readers will be challenged to take another look at stories that many of us know very well, if not by heart!
An adventurous interpreter can perceive how Jesus criticizes a woman whose obsession with her role in society and in the home has diminished her spiritually.
The scene contrasts Martha and Mary. Both women are presumed to be friends of Jesus. Martha was a typical woman of her time – swept up in domestic activity, busily tending to the many things she believed were her responsibility – cooking, cleaning, and serving the people of the house.
Mary is not doing any of these things – she’s shirking her responsibilities according to Martha, her sister. But she is praised by Jesus, who appreciates that she has set aside those “women’s duties” in order to attend to spiritual matters.
A fresh reading of this account gives us a chance to look at the message in a new light. Women have been cast in many social, cultural, religious or domestic roles. But women are surely called as equals to listen and to discern the Word of God.