July 21, 2013: 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time
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.” (Luke 10:38-42)
Jesus drops in on Mary and Martha; he feels “at home.” Martha’s complaints tell us they are comfortable together. Martha acts like a sister talking to her brother. Mary just wants to sit and talk to a favorite friend. What’s for supper is not as important as talking to Jesus. He always has interesting stories. She might miss something. Martha is busy getting everyone food drink. Her hands are full.
In everyone there is a Martha and Mary. The Mary side is quiet and thoughtful. The Martha side is energetic and full of life. For each of us, the tricky part is balancing these two parts. We don’t balance by complaining; Martha didn’t win any friends that way. On the other hand, Mary’s “spaciness” wouldn’t work in most families. Jesus shows his values are different. He says to Martha, “There is need of only one thing.” He doesn’t tell us what the one thing is! Maybe he is asking Mary to pay attention to everyone the way she pays attention to him, and he is asking Martha to really notice him. What do you think the “one thing needed” is?
Use the Mary and Martha parts of you to think of five good things about someone who annoys you. When you realize their goodness, then do something for them. Pray for them. GOD ALWAYS ANSWERS PRAYER!