Jesus entered a village
where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him.
She had a sister named Mary
who sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak.
Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said,
“Lord, do you not care
that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving?
Tell her to help me.”
The Lord said to her in reply,
“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things.
There is need of only one thing.
Mary has chosen the better part
and it will not be taken from her.”
The story of Martha and Mary further illustrates the importance of hearing the words of the teacher and the concern with women in Luke.
10:38 entered a village Bethany, about half a mile east of Jerusalem (John 11:1).
10:39 sat beside the Lord at his feet the posture of a learning disciple.
10:40 with much serving likely making provisions for Jesus and His followers.
10:41 Martha, Martha the double use of her name serves as a gentle rebuke.
10:42 There is need of only one thing: some ancient versions read, “there is need of few things”; another important, although probably inferior, reading found in some manuscripts is, “there is need of few things, or of one”.
This story of Martha and Mary is often seen as choices between an active life or a contemplative life. We see Martha, who was arranging and preparing the Lord’s meal, busy doing many things, whereas Mary preferred to listen to what the Lord was saying. Some will say that Mary, in a way deserted her sister, who was very busy, and sat herself down at Jesus’ feet and just listened to his words, being obedient to what the Psalm said: ‘Be still, and know that I am God’ (Ps 46:10).
Yet our challenge as disciples is to see beyond the either-or nature of this story. An active life forgetful of union with God is useless and barren; but an apparent life of prayer which shows no concern for serving and evangelizing the world through our daily, ordinary actions, also fails to please God. The key for engaged discipleship lies in being able to combine these two lives, without either harming the other.
St Josemaría Escrivá says that “God is calling us to serve him in and from the ordinary, material and secular activities of human life. He waits for us every day, in the laboratory, in the operating room, in the army barracks, in the university chair, in the factory, in the workshop, in the fields, in the home and in all the immense panorama of work. There is something holy, something divine, hidden in the most ordinary situations, and it is up to each one of you to discover it. Either we learn to find our Lord in ordinary, everyday chaos of life, or else we shall never find him.”
May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.