It seems that these days we’re all busier than ever, working longer, running faster and still we’re all struggling. How many moments have I missed simply by choosing to be busy with things that in the long run will turn out to be nothing more than busywork?
In today’s gospel, Martha and Mary welcome Jesus to their home in very different ways. Martha welcomes Jesus by offering good food and comfortable place to stay. Her sister, Mary, welcomes Jesus by sitting with Him and listening to all Jesus has to say. On the outside it looks like Martha is doing the right thing, her house is filled with guest and someone to prepare the meals, clean the house and keep everything in order.
However, the gospel tells us that Martha is anxious, worried and burdened by much serving. And on the other side, Mary encountered Jesus by placing herself at the feet of Jesus and listened to the words of Him.
The story of Martha and Mary is a mirror with a dynamic that we are all too familiar. Comparison between sisters, between women. Why is it that women are against other women and can be each other’s enemies? Maybe because our society fosters and depends on the socialization of women toward comparison and lead to competition, judgment and expectation. We ask why and there are different options. We likely know the answer, yet it’s hard to choose. Is it service or learning? Hospitality or listening? Attentiveness or learning?
And here comes the wonderful gospel passage of Martha and Mary that always invites us to reflect on our daily lives and examine our life of service and our life of prayer. We shouldn’t think of Martha and Mary likewise our service and prayer as being in comparison and competition in our lives. This is not about who is better and what is better, but rather about acknowledging that even woman can be disciple – can sit at the feet of Jesus and learn. That even Mary, even a woman, even those we have determined outside of God’s grace can imagine themselves as disciples. Our encounter with Jesus is an event that transforms us.
Some of us like Martha, busy with and burdened by much serving. In this case we need to hear the invitation of Christ to listen to his words and make sure that our work is fruit of prayer and love. Some of us like Mary, sitting at the feet of Jesus, as we hear the words
of God we need to stand up and live the Gospel we have heard.
Mary and Martha cannot be about who is better, who acts better and who can be better, but rather the best part is the invitation to believe that you are who God sees you to be. Amen!
Source: Neo Jeremiah Voice of the Young Prophet Newsletter, July 21, 2019 issue.