Religious Education News

Andrew May for Melita Roache  -  Religious Education Coordinator

Several weeks ago the Gospel from the Sunday Mass was the story of Jesus visiting the home of the sisters Martha and Mary (Luke 10: 38 - 42). In this scripture we are given two contrasting images. Martha is the ’good host’, busily racing around to ensure that her honoured guest (Jesus) is as comfortable as can be, preparing the best meal that she can and living up to the expectations of society in regards to caring for visitors. Meanwhile, her sister Mary sits at Jesus’ feet listening to what he has to say. Poor Martha becomes frustrated, one person trying to do the work of two, and asks Jesus to remonstrate with Mary for her apparent laziness. Surprisingly Jesus refuses to do so and even goes as far as to criticise Martha, stating that she is “worried and distracted”, whilst her sister Mary has chosen the “better path”.


This story can be confusing to many people. Here we have one person (Martha) who in society’s eyes is doing all the right things, and another person (Mary) who is being lazy, yet Jesus finds no fault in that. He actually criticises the one that we would see as being in the right! Why would he do this, when so often we see in the scriptures Jesus criticising the lazy and praising those who are busily working?


One of the things that we often struggle with is understanding that the authors of the Scriptures often wrote metaphorically, not literally. When we read of Mary “sitting at Jesus’ feet” we should perhaps not take that literally. By “sitting at Jesus’ feet”, Mary was placing her whole being in closeness to Jesus - she was allowing his peace to enter her life, and was receptive to his words. Martha on the other hand had allowed the busyness of everyday life to overwhelm her. She was distracted, worried and anxious, and was removed from the peace that Jesus offered. 


All too often we allow the pressures of everyday life to overwhelm us. We become so focussed on the short-term that we forget that life is not a sprint but a marathon. We become fixated on short term gain (or failure) that we forget that life is full of ups and downs, and that at times we need to simply step back from life and all its busyness so that we can refocus and regain a sense of perspective. We fail to see the wood from the trees and can feel a sense of isolation, purposelessness or frustration that things aren’t going the way we’d like them to be. We are too much like Martha and not enough like Mary, in other words!


This term students at O’Connor will have many opportunities to “sit at Jesus’ feet”. We have resumed our regular 9:10 am Wednesday school Masses, and members of the O’Connor school family are more than welcome to join in with these. We will be participating in the St Vincent de Paul Winter sleepout on 19th August, which reminds those of us who have so much of the plight of many in our community who have so little. We will assist Armidale Vinnies in raising much needed funds to support the work of Freeman House, and information about this will be passed out to students through the daily notices as well as Compass. And finally, all students will have opportunities to engage in their Religious Education lessons. The value of this subject in providing students with a time to refocus and “sit at Jesus’ feet” cannot be underestimated. 


Finally, I would ask all members of the school community to keep in their minds, thoughts and prayers our Year 12 students who are entering the final few kilometres of the marathon that is the HSC. It has been a long, long journey and the finishing line is almost in sight. They may, like Martha, be feeling anxious and a little overwhelmed. Let’s all help them to sit at Jesus’ feet and gain some of the peace that He offers.


Mr Andrew May 

for Miss Melita Roach



Our Founders - St Angela Merici and St John Baptiste De La Salle


Saints Mary and Joseph Cathedral Parish


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