Sorting our priorities – 5th Sunday after Trinity
In the story of Martha and Mary, perhaps all of us can feel rather sympathetic to Martha, some from more personal experience than others, and we might also be tempted to think that Jesus reacts, or at least Luke has Jesus reacting, rather typically as a Palestinian male of his time. He has blithely accepted the hospitality, seemingly taking such work for granted as a woman’s rightful place, whilst at the same time as he disparages its value. Would he prefer to have gone hungry?
So, one can see how this story has the potential to be rather irritating to all those people who selflessly and often without the credit that they deserve, give so much to the church and their community behind the scenes.
On the other hand, we could read this story rather differently. But not focusing too literally on the words reportedly exchanged, but on the lesson that Luke is trying to teach, both to his readers at the time, and also to us.
Whether they be church-goers or not, most people if you asked them would agree; Advent is most definitely a time of preparation.
But, of course, the key question is preparation for what?
Indeed, the very notion of preparation would imply that we have some understanding of that for which we prepare.
Christ the King could be considered a somewhat awkward Sunday to celebrate. It can strike a rather discordant note, and ring the wrong kind of bells.
It carries the danger of conjuring up images of a Byzantine royal court of power, of wealth, riches and status.
Today’s Parable of the Talents is not really about money – despite the fact that Matthew’s listeners would have been shocked into awed silence by the sums mentioned.
Whenever we read scripture we do need to remember who was the immediate intended audience.