People who think of themselves as “pray-ers” love the story of Mary and Martha, while others who characterise themselves as “do-ers” are irritated by it. After all, Martha is an exemplary model of hospitality. She is serving her guest and honouring God in the process.
Martha has done nothing wrong, and Jesus does not put her down for her generous service – though plenty of homilists this week will make it sound that way. Martha fulfills the cultural and religious obligation of hospitality admirably. Mary has chosen to follow another imperative, one that sprang from within her own desire: to be in the company of Jesus. If Martha errs, it’s only in passing judgement over Mary’s choice. Hospitality takes many forms. One of them is presence.
How do you serve the Lord by doing? How do you serve the Lord by being present?
Make a commitment to hospitality. Cultivate the spirit of welcome. Risk becoming known as a source of refuge.
The mystery in a nutshell is just this: Christ is in you, therefore you can look forward to sharing God’s glory. It’s that simple.
The Scripture (Luke 10: 41 – 42) Jesus Visits Martha and Mary
Jesus said, “Martha, dear Martha, you’re fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing. One thing only is essential, and Mary has chosen it – it’s the main course, and won’t be taken from her”.
The greatest danger of television is that it encourages us to switch off from one another. This is true of iPods and social media. They all help to shut us off and enclose us in a world of our own. But we do not need any of these to be inattentive. A child comes in with an important message but the father is filling in his tax forms and the mother is busy preparing the dinner. “But …” says the child and is still not given attention. The parents have not listened and the child is left feeling alone. The generation gap is often created because we do not listen to each other. The child goes out and wonders who will look at the washing machine that is overflowing! To be a disciple, we have to balance the ‘busyness’ of our lives with sitting at the feet of Jesus. As we spend time listening to the words of Scripture, we come to know the God who loves us. We see ways in which we can act on that love so that our actions flow from our love of God.
You lead us out to serve, O God.
Give us courage to help the poor.
Give us the willingness to offer a second chance.
Give us patience when trouble comes.
Give us wisdom when choices must be made.
Give us peace in the midst of turmoil.
Give us your graceful presence when all else fails.
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