Gospel: Lk 10:38-42
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 work? Tell her to help me!” 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.”
Martha is a doer to the point of making more complaints than simply serving. Martha is burdened by what she is doing. Serving is something that Jesus himself did constantly and he urged his followers to do the same. But it should not be a burden. And, after Martha had complained about her sister, Jesus told her that she was “anxious and worried about many things“. A true servant does not experience anxiety and worry. It signifies a lack of inner peace and sense of balance. Martha must have been somewhat surprised when Jesus said that Mary had “chosen the better part“ which would “not be taken from her“. What was that better part? Was Mary just sitting at the feet of Jesus and not helping her sister at all? No. We are told that she was “listening to him speak“. Listening to his message is something Jesus tells his disciples and the crowd they need to be doing all the time. And we have mentioned before that listening involves understanding, accepting and assimilating that message so that it becomes part of our own nature. If we do not spend time listening to him, how can we know that our activity is properly directed? It is easy for us Christians to be very busy but are we busy about the right things? To answer that question we have to stop to listen, to discern and to pray. And, ultimately, the highest form of activity in our lives is contemplation or being mindful of God‘s presence in all things. If I am not mindful of my activities each day, I end up being caught by the burden of doing things for others. I fail to see the deeper connection of who I am and what I am doing. I am simply busy.
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