Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Mary of Bethany

We read in the Gospels of the women who followed the Lord and ministered to the needs of his disciples.... The impression might be that they did the cooking and the laundry... Women know how to do those things and this makes them strong and independent. We also have Mary, the sister of Lazarus, the contemplative, the theologian who sat at the feet of Jesus and listened to His words. Martha was cooking but she was obviously listening for when her brother died she was the one who articulated her faith in the divine power of their friend, Jesus.

In the fifties and before, there was a very strict fast for receiving the Eucharist. No food or water was allowed before the Mass. There were very strong women who loved the Lord no less than Mary and Martha. They rode the ferry each day to their jobs in lower Manhattan without any breakfast because they wanted to meet their Lord in Holy Communion at the noon Mass during their lunch hour.

Today the fast is more relaxed, but it still requires a special love and courage to be witness to Jesus in the Eucharist. It is sometimes difficult to acknowledge our faith in the Real Presence when so much of our society keep their faith, if they have any, as a personal secret. Mockery hurts far more than an empty stomach.

Still today there are brave young woman who cannot deny their love for Jesus and give up part of their precious lunch hour to find and attend a Holy Mass. How dear they are to Him and how blessed will be their lives and those they touch.