Martha welcomed Jesus. She had a sister named Mary who sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to what he was saying…… there is need of only one thing. ~ Luke 10:38-42 ~
Mary, don’t just sit there, do something!
Martha, just sit there, do nothing!’
Although Martha welcomes Jesus, she has no time to sit and chat. Mary is so enthralled with Jesus, she has forgotten about others who would also like to share in the experience. One could imagine another take on this story...
Jesus gently relaxes Mary’s grip on his feet and suggests she go get Martha, take the saucepans out of her hands and then they sit together at Jesus’ feet. Both Mary and Martha share in what Jesus has to offer.
Now that would be real evangelization! Not ‘me and Jesus’ but ‘we and Jesus’.
Do we give time to listen to our friends' needs, give attention to our child's tales of success or hear the plea of a stranger? Or are we caught up in our own busyness and/or straining piety? We may miss an opportunity that may never come again - to be good observers, listeners, companions and sharers – to SEE Christ IN others and to BEING WITH Christ TO others.
If Mary is going to keep what she got from sitting at Jesus’ feet, ironically she is going to have to share it, give it away! And that’s what Jesus may well have meant in saying ‘choosing the better part’. Since the time of St Augustine, Martha, has had bad press as the hyperactive one. The same criticism could have been made of Mary, (the catatonic one), being too worried, fretting and distracted about when and where she would next see Jesus.
Thomas Aquinas once said that there is no limit to the amount of love you can have or need for God, but there is a limit to the amount of ‘religion’ (prayers, etc.) that is good for you – that measure needs to be worked out for different personalities and situations.
May God forgive us all when we compete and compare, when we think in terms of this and that - Martha and Mary! Comparison is the thief of joy.
Let’s stop thinking, stop trying to be perfect or more spiritual. Instead may we be more prayerfully present - sitting and listening quietly, resting and relaxing at each other’s feet - doing it together - ‘we and Jesus’! We can be for each other, prayer friends/companions/coaches/directors. Together, seeing, loving and following Jesus more dearly day by day, expanding and deepening God’s life and love in us. ‘Jesus said to them, ‘Come and see.’ They came and saw where Jesus was staying and they remained with him…’ (John 1:38-40)