Tag Archives: Martha and Mary

“There is need of only one thing…” (21 July 3013, Ordinary Sunday 16C)

In this meditation, I take the part of ‘Gideon’, who was a small boy at the time of Jesus’ visit to Bethany. I am aware of the discussions about the authorship of Colossians; for what it’s worth, I am content that it comes from Paul through the pen of Timothy, which accounts for differences in wording and emphasis.

I’m also well aware the vast majority scholars believe John’s Gospel wasn’t written until around the end of the first century. What can I say? I plead poetic license.


Colossians 1.15–28
Luke 10.38–42


Hello, shalom, peace be with you. My name is Gideon. I was only a young boy when it happened, when I overheard the conversation Jesus had with Mary and Martha back in Bethany, my hometown.

I used to hide near Martha’s kitchen, just in the courtyard. Was she a great cook! Her scraps and offcuts were better than anything we got at home, so I’d just…you know…help her to get rid of them. Many’s the time I came home with a full belly, and so it didn’t matter that there was no food on our table.

Years later, Martha told me that she knew I went there, and she used to throw extra out for me. She was a really generous lady.

Anyway, one day I’m in my spot and there’s a huge commotion inside. I heard Martha clattering around and saying something about Jesus, the teacher and healer from Galilee everyone was talking about. I heard enough to realise he was coming to see Martha and Mary, her sister. I settled into my place. Martha will feed him well, I thought, there’ll be some dee-licious scraps tonight!

I must have dozed, because the next thing I hear, Jesus is already in the house. Martha’s in a flap because she’s still getting ready. I can’t hear Mary at all. I soon realised why I couldn’t hear Mary. Jesus was teaching the men there, and Mary was sitting with them. She always was the cheeky one, but she was really eager to learn too!

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