Sunday, July 18, 2010

Only One Thing

I have linked before to Catholic Churches of Manhattan, the blog of a young man who went to Mass at all 96 Roman Catholic Churches in the Borough of Manhattan. "Andrew the Sinner," as he dubbed himself, finished that great work this April.

While I don't intend to duplicate that effort, I would like visit all of the parishes within an easy walk of my apartment in Little Italy. So, this morning, I went to the 11 a.m. Mass at St. Anthony of Padua at the corner of Houston and Sullivan streets in SoHo.

The Gospel at Mass, from Luke Chapter 10, was the account of Jesus at the home of the sisters Martha and Mary. In the passage, which I posted in 2007, Martha is busy serving while Mary sat at Jesus' feet listening to him.

The Franciscan Friar who celebrated the Mass at St. Anthony's observed in his homily that Mary, seated in the presence of the male house guest and actively following the conversation, was not conforming to the traditional role of a woman in Ancient Israel.

Perhaps, in addition to wanting help, Martha also was attempting to correct this faux pas, the friar speculated.

He added that, in Jesus' response to Martha, he is calling all people, regardless of gender or social status, to hear his message. That wonderful quote:

"Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her."

For more reflections on today's scripture readings, visit A Concord Pastor, Deacon Greg, City Father, Sr. Kathy, Bishop Gumbleton and Fr. Richard.

The image above is "Martha" by James Tissot. It is from the collection of the Brooklyn Museum of Art.


claire said...

First, I am amazed that there are 96 churches in Manhattan. Wow, this gives a goal next time I am in this city.

Second, isn't it extraordinary all the takes than one can come up with when spending some time with Mary and Martha. I have done that every year for the past twenty years or so and come up every time with a different angle.

And though, always, I feel a pinch of pain in my heart to see one sister being told the other is better. It is so truly harsh.

I realize as I say this that I would like to imagine Martha stopping in her tracks and looking at Him who looks at her. Is she hurt, angry, or does she stop and laughs with him, leaving all of it for another time -- and taking everyone to a McDonald's for lunch...


Thank you for the implied invitation to visit all the churches in Manhattan!

Andrew the Sinner said...

Paul - good luck on your journey, can't wait to hear about your experiences at the churches of Little Italy. My personal favorite: Old St. Patrick's (though i guess it's technically SOHO - those downtown small neighborhoods confound me!) Also, Church of the Most Precious Blood is pretty special as well.

And anyone reading in the NYC area should take similar journeys as visiting new churches is a great way to inspire and renew your spirituality. There is a lot to discover and find out there, more so than even the brick, stained glass and art you will surely see.