I have always hoped that someone would unearth the whole catena of Martha/Mary/Lazarus stories of which this one and the raising of Lazarus story in St. John’s Gospel are the only ones we have. The two stories enable us to see Jesus in a family context, in domestic scenes, with people that he loved and loved him. The parents of the three presumably were dead because we hear nothing about them. They are also likely to be in their early or middle teens because they are not married. The two girls were clearly in love with Jesus and he treated their crushes with respect and affection. Were they people who actually existed?
It would be hard to deny that because the stories presume that those who read the Gospels know all about them. Jesus is not saying that one should not wait on guests. He is rather saying that more important than waiting on them is enjoying them and loving them. We should never be so busy that we have no time for love.
Fr. Greeley's Last Book:
Once upon a time a mommy had such a wonderful time on her vacation that she decided that on the last weekend she would have a party for the neighbors at their summer place in gratitude for what good friends they had been. She hoped that she could do that every summer. Let’s have pizza her kids said –as kids always say. We can grill some hamburgers, her husband said, that’s easy (which is what he always said). No, said the mommy, we should have a really NICE dinner (which is what she always said. The rest of the family groaned to themselves because they knew what that meant – a whole day of hard work for everyone during which the mommy would act like it wasn’t her idea but theirs and now they weren’t helping enough.
The rest of the family thought that beef bourgeon was a little much for a summer dinner. There was no reason to clean up the house like it was just before Christmas. If they had to have Caesar salad, couldn’t you make it out of a bag. Was it really necessary to bake potatoes? Wouldn’t potato salad be just as good? Couldn’t you buy the apple pies at the bakery instead of making a half dozen of them? And what was wrong with package pie crust?
Well, the party was a feast which everyone enjoyed. They would have enjoyed it a lot more, however, if the mommy wasn’t so worn out that she didn’t have any fun.
1 The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want;
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The survey of the archdiocese, which Father Greeley describes as "a very complicated place" demographically, asks some difficult questions, and finds some interesting truths.
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