Now as they went on their way, he entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he was saying. But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to him and asked, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
Today’s gospel in Luke follows right after the the parable of the Good Samaritan; and, like it, is found only in Luke. Both events are set in Jesus’ Jerusalem, where his suffering, death, and resurrection will take place. It is important for us, as followers of Jesus, to recognize this context and say “yes” to all it means for our own journey with him.
Jesus enters the home of Martha and her sister Mary. John’s gospel tells us that Lazarus is their brother, that they live in Bethany, and are dear friends of Jesus. Martha is busy preparing a meal while Mary sits at Jesus’ feet, listening to him. Martha asks Jesus to get Mary to help her; Jesus replies that Mary has chosen the better part.
For Luke, Jesus is the “hospitality of God.” Jesus shows this time and time again by seeking out folks on the margins and eating with them, spending time with them, and listening with them. What does this mean for us? What does it mean for the followers of Jesus? How are we the “hospitality of God” like Jesus? By listening, kindness, seeking those folks on the edge (near at hand within our families, communities, neighborhoods), or perhaps with folks of different languages, cultures, races, and faiths. Hospitality is not easy but it is what we are called to!
Lord, if I rest in you, all will be better. In all my relationships I will be more attentive, quicker to listen, slower to speak, less filled with ego and more focused on love. I give my day to you and breathe in your Spirit of truth, mercy, and wisdom. I surrender all to you.
—The Jesuit Prayer Team