As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, He entered a village and a woman called Martha welcomed him to her house. She had a sister named Mary who sat down at the Lord's feet to listen to his words. Martha, meanwhile, was busy with all the serving and finally she said, «Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do all the serving?». But the Lord answered, «Martha, Martha, you worry and are troubled about many things, whereas only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen the better part, and it will not be taken away from her».
We should learn to live our life joyful like Jesus. An invitation by this nuclear family, creates the conflicts within the sisters. So strange that the invited is unnecessarily made part of this conflict.
Our normal approach to this gospel message may be the temptation to conclude that the Lord chooses the contemplation than action. Though it may not be totally wrong, Jesus doesn’t disapprove the demand of Martha, rather simply telling her that she can’t disturb the Lord to do your will, by depriving your sister who has chosen the best for her.
Thus, I will invite you all to look at this gospel with an eye on the discernment. Mary has chosen the best in her liberty and the Lord will never interfere in our personal freedom of choice. According to the Lord, every act should be a response to a good listening. Without discerning the divine will, it is very dangerous to associate our will as divine will. Here Martha is forcing the Lord to associate her will as His will and it is not acceptable.
Many of us are disturbed like Martha, continuously complaining because we are not able to discern the divine will in our personal life. There are many ‘I don’t have’ in our lives, thought they are not false, like the situation of Martha in this gospel. In such a situation, it is best to leave our discernment be filled with love and compassion.
A good listening without follow-up action doesn’t serve anything and a very good act without coherent with the divine will, neither produce the divine fruit, nor will give us the joy of accomplishing the divine will.
Daily Quote from the early church fathers:
The Body of Christ needs hearers and doers of the Word, by Ambrose of Milan, 339-397 A.D.
"'Virtue does not have a single form. In the example of Martha and Mary, there is added the busy devotion of the one and the pious attention of the other to the Word of God, which, if it agrees with faith, is preferred even to the very works, as it is written: 'Mary has chosen the good portion, which shall not be taken away from her.' So let us also strive to have what no one can take away from us, so that not careless but diligent hearing may be granted to us. For even the seeds of the heavenly Word itself are likely to be taken away if they are sowed by the wayside (Luke 8:5,12). Let the desire for wisdom lead you as it did Mary. It is a greater and more perfect work. Do not let service divert the knowledge of the heavenly Word... Nor is Martha rebuked in her good serving, but Mary is preferred because she has chosen the better part for herself, for Jesus abounds with many blessings and bestows many gifts. And therefore the wiser chooses what she perceives as foremost." (excerpt from EXPOSITION OF THE GOSPEL OF LUKE 7.83-86)
«Martha, Martha, you worry and are troubled about many things, whereas only one thing is needed»
Fr. Josep RIBOT i Margarit
Today, as every day, we can learn from the Gospel. Jesus, invited to Martha's home in Bethany, gives us a lesson of humanity: He, who loved people, lets people love him, for both things are equally important. It would be a serious mistake, with harmful consequences for sanctity, to refuse God's and others' affection.
Martha or Mary? But..., why opposing those who loved each other so much and loved God too? Jesus loved Martha and Mary, and their brother Lazarus, and He loves each one of us, too.
On the path of sainthood not any two souls are exactly alike. We all try to love God, but within our own style and personality, without imitating anyone. Our models are Christ and the Mother of God. Do you resent how others treat God? Try to learn from his personal piety.
«Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do all the serving? Ask her therefore to help me» (Lk 10:40). To serve others, for the love of God, is an honor, not a burden. Do we serve with joy, as the Mother of God did with her cousin Elisabeth or at Cana's wedding, or as Jesus did when washing the Apostle's feet at the Last Supper?
«Martha, Martha, you worry and are troubled about many things, whereas only one thing is needed» (Lk 10:41-42). Let us lose neither our peace nor our good humor. And to accomplish it, let us take good care of God's presence. «Know it well: There is something holy, something divine, hidden in the most ordinary situations; and it is up to each person to discover it (…); either we learn to find our Lord in ordinary, everyday life, or else we shall never find him» (St. Josemaria).
«Mary has chosen the better part, and it will not be taken away from her» (Lk 10:42). God wants us happy. That our Mother in Heaven helps us to feel the joy of giving.