Mercy is demanding

Taking Your Place

All of us, without exception, are called to sit and listen at Jesus’ feet. A good illustration of this is the story of Martha and Mary. Mary sits and listens at Jesus’ feet, leaving Martha to cook by herself. In Jesus’ time, it was customary for women to prepare meals in the kitchen while the men sit outside in the waiting room to talk. If a rabbi or a respected Pharisee was visiting, the men would sit at his feet and listen to him. For Mary, a woman, to sit and listen at Jesus’ feet instead of helping in the kitchen, must have upset not only Martha, but everybody else in the house. Knowing this cultural convention gives greater significance to Jesus’ answer: “Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.” (Lk. 10:42) Jesus’ invitation for Mary to continue listening signifies the radicality of His call to discipleship; His call cuts across social and cultural constraints, and everyone, without exception, is welcomed to take their place at Jesus’ feet and accept the call to be His disciple.