In the first scripture reading St. Paul summarizes for the Galatians his life before and after his conversion. He speaks frankly about his persecution of the Christians because of his zeal for Judaism. Then he speaks of his conversion of heart and his work in proclaiming Jesus and his teaching to the Gentiles. In this reading we learn that God called Paul to a special mission. As I read the words of Paul, I am struck by the fact that God chose Paul. As a persecutor of Christians Paul was certainly not a likely candidate to become an apostle. If God had left this decision to one of the apostles or some other person they would not have chosen Paul for this mission. They probably would have avoided any contact with such a determined adversary as Paul. But God in his wisdom chose Paul and intervened in a miraculous way to help Paul to fulfill his destiny as the Apostle of the Gentiles.
In today's gospel reading we hear about Mary and Martha. This story is a favorite of mine. It reminds me of my childhood and how hard my mother worked to prepare for the coming of visitors. It is very easy for me to picture the scene at the home of Mary and Martha. I think that conventional wisdom today would sympathize very much with Martha and her words to Jesus. People today might scorn one sister who left all the work to the other. They would probably regard her as lazy and worthy of rebuke. Of course, in this gospel the most important part of the story is the response of Jesus to Martha. Mary is not just sitting around to avoid work. She is listening with great attention to Jesus. She has chosen a place at his feet so that she can hear every word Jesus speaks. Jesus tells Martha that Mary has chosen the better part.
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