Being a Christian is to be a radical. Discipleship in Christ Jesus is a call to disregard the accepted order in pursuit of higher things. Followers of “The Way” of Jesus are those who seek things - not of this world, but of God’s Holy Kingdom, God’s love, God’s justice and God’s peace – the better part.
In Luke’s Gospel of Mary and Martha, Jesus breaks with accepted tradition, a cause for scandal, by his unconventional behaviors. In his mission to make the Kingdom of God known to all people, Jesus demonstrates which is more important – knowledge of the Word of God or adherence to social convention.
The glaring social taboos in this passage that break with accepted social conventions are:
- Jesus being welcomed into the home by Martha
- Jesus being in a room alone with women, Mary and Martha, who were not his relatives
- Jesus speaking with women, Mary and Martha
- Mary not working in the kitchen preparing the meal – doing women’s work
There is no mention of Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha being present in the house or that he was the owner of the house, just Martha alone. Luke uses this scenario of Jesus - alone with women - to show the importance of listening to the Word of God over all other things, especially the great taboos of social interaction, - knowing one’s place in society.
By his actions, Jesus breaks the bonds of slavery to convention and liberates us to live - truly - a life in God’s peace, justice and love. He does away with adherence to the established order, questions the traditional way of viewing the world; opening us up to the wonders of God’s Kingdom. He calls us to follow a new way, a way that leads to an everlasting life of love, peace and justice in God’s kingdom.
Jesus calls us to listen to the Word of God. Hear God’s voice in our hearts calling us to:
- Love one another as we are loved,
- Care for one another with the compassion we receive,
- Give mercy as we receive God’s mercy,
- Bringing God’s justice to all our brothers and sisters, and
- Treating one another other for who we are - beloved children of the one Father.
Living in the freedom of God’s love; not worrying about the things of this world: we too break the bonds of slavery to convention and adherence to the unimportant, trivial and finite matters of this world that fail to bring us to life everlasting in the peace of God’s kingdom.
· Frees us from fear – fear of going against the norms of the day to bring about God’s justice to the world
· Liberates us from worry – worry of our ability to the necessary things to bring about God’s peace
· Releases us from bondage of sin – slavery to the desires of the evil one, who wants to separate us from the love of God and keep us from his Kingdom
In hearing the Word of God inspires us to action:
- Action that helps to bring about God’s kingdom through His love
- Action in doing the will of God; working for His justice and peace
- Action in spreading His Good News to all people, bringing hope to the world
- Action to living lives in Christ,
So all people may recognize us as followers of “The Way,” disciples of Jesus, so they too may come to hear the Word of God and be brought into everlasting life.
There is a Japanese proverb, “The nail that sticks out is hammered down.” This proverb sums up the idea of being just one in the crowd; going along with the established order, adhering to the status quo. But Christ calls us to be outstanding: to live a new life, a different life, a radical life, a life away from the crowd, away from this world to a life of “the better part”. He calls us to listen and hear the Word of God and live lives that bring about His Kingdom.
We may think that life is too busy, too complicated, and too complex to listen to the Word of God. And that acting on His Word is an impossible task in today’s hectic world. It is a task only for the few, the select, the holy, chosen ones of God. But we must remember that:
- We are all special
- We are all outstanding,
- We are all chosen,
- We are all beloved children of Go
- We are all created by Him, made holy in His image and likeness, endowed with talents uniquely selected for us by Him so that we may do His will and come to live in peace, love and justice in His Kingdom for ever and ever. ~ Amen
Deacon Don Ron