This past Sunday’s Gospel came from Luke 10:38-42, where Jesus visits his friends, Martha, Mary, and Lazarus. Our priest, Father Bob, reminded us that it’s easy to forget that Jesus had friends. The Scriptures show that Jesus was comfortable with them and they with him; they spoke freely between each other and later Jesus wept when Lazarus died.
If you’re not familiar with this Martha and Mary story in Luke, here it is:
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.”
I’ve always identified with Martha, working hard preparing and serving for her guests while her sister Mary rests, rapt with attention at Christ’s words. And Jesus’s words to Martha have sometimes felt like a reproof: “Mary has chosen the better part.”
I think many of us would like to be Mary, but find it difficult to ignore the necessary business that surrounds us, to make time to be still and listen to the Lord. Father Bob’s homily opened a whole new perspective. He said (paraphrasing) that Mary’s part is better not because she was listening instead of serving, but because she was doing it with a loving heart and full attention.
Did Martha serve the Lord with that same loving heart and full attention? Do I? Do you? Throughout our lives whether we are called to serve or called to be still and listen, we should always do it with a loving heart and our full attention.