Often people listen to this story and then compare having an active life to a contemplative life. It appears to be that way because Jesus indicates that Mary has chosen the better part. This is good but with all stories such as this we need to go a little deeper to find a richer understanding. Reflecting on Martha, hospitality is important. It is serving another person. An example of love your neighbor as yourself. Both Martha and Mary loved Jesus so they would want to offer Him the best they have.
Martha is worried and anxious. Her anxiety however is not just about making a good meal or following recipes. She is worried and anxious about many things. She is not focused on just making the meal but all the many duties she has to do today. Imagine this, if Jesus had told Martha to come sit at His feet and listen, she would not have been able to sit still and be quiet. She would have fidgeted, she would be looking at others to see what they were wearing, she would be thinking about making supper, cleaning the house, and all the other chores she needed to do. She would not have been thinking of focusing and listening to Jesus.
Our worries and anxieties often take our focus away from Jesus. Even when we are in His presence at mass, we find it difficult to focus for one hour. In our human nature, it is not our nature to just sit quietly and focus on Jesus. We must practice just being in the presence of our Lord. When we desire to learn something new, we can focus totally upon our heart’s desire. But desires such as this do not last. Jesus must be our heart’s desire. It is not just enough to emotionally desire Jesus. Rather, it must be an act of will. An act of love done every day.
Last week with the Good Samaritan we saw a wonderful example of hospitality. Today we see a great example of discipleship. Mary’s desire it totally focused upon the Lord. Her example invites us into this discipleship mode, too. With the Good Samaritan and now Mary’s example we see the importance of both hospitality and discipleship.
May the Lord bless you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen