Martha & Mary
“… you are anxious and worried about many things.”
Let’s imagine the scene: in one room Jesus is speaking to his disciples. One of his dearest friends, Mary, the sister of Martha, sits at his feet listening attentively. Martha, who had welcomed Jesus to her home, is working in the next room that serves as a kitchen, busily preparing the meal. As she works, she keeps looking over at the circle of disciples, and becomes more and more agitated. She’s alone doing all the serving. Martha goes from one pot to another, fussing and growing more angry and resentful. Mary is just sitting there, unconcerned about all the work that needs to be done. Martha’s resentment fuels her frantic work. Finally, she bursts into the room to speak her mind to Jesus and ask him to do something. Instead of telling Mary to get up and help, Jesus points out to Martha that she is “anxious and worried about many things.” He knows she loves him too, but in her service for him she is focusing on the burden she is carrying, rather than on what is really important. Mary has chosen to listen with love and humility to the word of Jesus. Martha’s frenetic activity has, for the moment, sapped her of her love and her peace of mind and heart.
We, too, are often plagued by worry and anxiety in our family setting, workplace, and even our prayer life. How can we escape from our worries and endless activity and find peace of mind and heart? Jesus invites us to pause and make our priorities clear, to seek first his will for us, and to spend some time with him. The word of God gently yet powerfully penetrates our minds and hearts, and keeps us focused on our relationship with God. We all do so many things, but our motives can make us feel anxious—or they can help us feel at peace with ourselves and God. It all depends on where we have set our priorities. Martha was serving the Lord, but other “things” distracted her from the “better part” that could also be hers.
Lord, I want to take today as an opportunity to reassess my priorities. I want to take time today for spiritual and physical renewal. Sunday is a day for the “better part,” but I so often spend it like any other day. I want my relationship with you to grow and deepen. May it be a balm or spiritual ointment to lessen my anxieties and build up my trust in your care for me. Bless and complete what I have begun. Amen.
Lord, your kingdom come, your will be done.
Daughters of St. Paul. (2011). Ordinary Grace Weeks 1–17: Daily Gospel Reflections. (M. G. Dateno & M. L. Trouvé, Eds.) (pp. 274–275). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.