The Gospel for the feast of St. Martha probably reflects a typical scene from the life of Jesus. He has a very close friendship with Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, often going to their home in Bethany to relax, enjoy their company, share some of Martha’s good cooking, and simply rest from His demanding ministry activities.
Luke presents Mary seated near Jesus and listening to him. Martha, being a good host, is busy with all the demands of hospitality. Understandably, she becomes upset that Mary seems to be taking it easy and leaving all the work to her. Jesus lovingly cautions Martha not to be overly concerned about all the details of serving.
Is Jesus rebuking Martha, even disregarding her concerns, when He says that Mary “has chosen the better part”? Certainly not! He is gently reminding Martha to keep everything in balance, to fulfill one’s daily duties (work, cook, wash, clean) and still remain centered on Christ (time for prayer and reflection). This is captured well in the Benedictine motto: ora et labora, pray and work.
How can we be genuine “contemplatives in action”?
Gospel • Lk 10:38-42 [or Jn 11:19-27]
Jesus entered a village where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed Him. She had a sister named Mary who sat beside the Lord at His feet listening to Him speak. Martha, burdened with much serving, came to Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me.” The Lord said to her in reply, “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.”
SOURCE: “366 Days with the Lord 2020,” ST. PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 632-895-9701; Fax 632-895-7328; E-mail: [email protected]; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.