St. Peters Church, Bandra shared a link.
St. Martha whose feast is celebrated today is mentioned in the Gospels of Luke and John. She is the sister of Mary and Lazarus. She comes across in the Gospel of Luke as a doer.
This text, which speaks of the encounter of Martha and Mary with Jesus, takes the form of a pronouncement story (a story in which a saying of Jesus stands out and is the focus of the story). While the Gospel of Luke explicitly mentions women disciples of Jesus, here Mary is even sitting at the feet of Jesus and listening to his teaching, something unthinkable at the time of Jesus. By sitting at his feet, Mary is acting like a male, and in doing so neglects her duty of helping to prepare the meal. This action of Mary also results in bringing shame upon her house. Though justified Martha’s protest is put negatively by her. It is clear that her focus is not the Lord, but herself. She is concerned not with her service of the Lord, but the trouble that it is causing her because she is left alone to serve. The response of Jesus to Martha is the main point of the story and the pronouncement. The repetition of her name is a mild rebuke. Her “cares” have prevented her from unhindered devotion and attention to the Lord. Mary has chosen the one thing necessary and that is the Lord. Martha presumes to tell Jesus what he should do; Mary lets Jesus tell her what to do.
There are times when we do things not because we are convinced that they have to be done but because we want the approval of others or we want others to know how hard we are working. These are selfish acts and do not bring grace. The act that does bring grace is when we do what has to be done simply because it has to be done and expect nothing in return.
St. Peters Church, Bandra shared a link.
The parables of the treasures hidden in a field and the pearl of great price which begin the Gospel reading break the natural flow of ideas from the allegory of the parable of the wheat and weeds, which are continued in the parable of the wheat and weeds, which are continued in the parable of the net. Though the word “treasure” at the beginning of today’s text (13:44) and again at the end of it (13:52) is an indication that all these verses form one unit, this homily will focus on the first two parables of today’s reading. These parables are found only in Gospel of Matthew and the first point that strikes one is the brevity of the parables. They do not give too many details and one must avoids the danger of filling in details which are not in the parables.
Both parables centre on one point, namely that the main character in the parable sells everything that he has for the sake of what he wants. They each act with single-mindedness. However, even as the one working in the field does not seem to be looking for something specific, the merchant is specifically searching for fine pearls. Though questions may be raised about the legality, integrity and honesty of the one working in the field or about the prudence of the merchant, these do not seem to have any connection with the main point.
The parables pronounce no judgement on the ethics or common sense of the characters, but stress that the coming of the kingdom requires radical decisions. An important point that must be noted here is that the decisions of the individuals to do what they did, come after the discovery is made. This means that is the discovery which prompts the decision. In other words, after the discovery they could not but do what they did. The discovery compels their action.
The discovery that wisdom was indeed that treasure led Solomon to forgo all that a “sensible” person might have considered important and even necessary. As a young king he had many legitimate needs. He needed wealth, military might, fame, security, prosperity, long life and happiness and yet he knew that these were not the real treasure, these were not the pearl of great price. In the first reading of today in which he responds to God’s generosity to him by asking for the gift of wisdom or a discerning mind indicates that he too had discovered the treasure and pearl.
Thus it may be said that the kingdom of God is not really a place but a state of being. The treasure and pearl of great price are not things that one possesses, rather it is something that possesses or grasps us. It is what leads us to let go of everything else that we might possess and focus on it alone. It is that good which contains in itself or brings along with it all other good and desirable things, that which completely satisfies the otherwise insatiable desires of the human heart.