What we can learn

In this story I think more Martha is given a bit of a hard time. After all, Jesus says that Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be denied her. And what do we then conclude about the part that Mary has chosen. Another way to look at this is to put yourself in Martha’s shoes. Jesus shows up at your door – would you have the presence of mind and the willingness to throw open the door and invite him in? Regardless of the readiness or what’s in the refrigerator?  Maybe there is a thing or two to learn from Martha

True hospitality is always in style. Welcoming people into your home is a gift – a gift worth sharing, whether the place is pristine and decorated to perfection or not. Because true hospitality wraps a person up in a grace hug and makes them feel special. Never mind the dust bunnies or the random socks. And hospitality is something you and I can do right now. We can open our homes and our hearts to the family next door with the noisy dogs, to the couple that sits right behind us in church, or to the women we chat with at the gym. What’s the worst best that could happen? You cement a new friendship, laugh at some dust, and enjoy a little grace together.

Comparison only breeds anxiety and discontent. As the Mary/Martha story unfolds, we find Mary smack in the middle of the living room, sitting with the men, soaking up Jesus’s words. Martha? Well, she’s scurrying around the kitchen like a whirlwind. This woman is on a mission and will not stop until all of the guests are well satisfied.

But there’s just one problem: here’s poor Martha trying to serve dinner for a large crowd without help. I would be a bit frustrated, too.  Martha’s discontent begins she compares her current situation to someone else’s and realizes she’s holding the short straw. Sound familiar? I look at other folks’ life with more comfort, an easier go of it, and discontent arrives. But then what we see is never the full story. When we look at someone else’s life, we only catch a snapshot. And just like the smiling Christmas photo that never hints at the pre-pose argument or the toddler’s screaming fit right afterward, we miss the rest of the story too.

Truth is, no matter how it looks on the outside, God is at work in every story. No two stories are exactly the same. And comparison doesn’t change her story or yours. It just steals your joy.

When you’re struggling, go to the best Source first. Frustrated as she is, she wastes no time. She knows exactly who can fix things. Martha marches right up to the highest authority in the room and commands Jesus, “Tell her to help me.” There’s something to be said for knowing who can help. Sometimes we can be tempted to share our problems with everyone else –when the wisest thing to do is to approach the One who can actually fix things first. Martha knew what she was doing.

You can tell Jesus anything. How interesting that Jesus doesn’t rebuke Martha for her words. Jesus accepts Martha where she is, as she is, and listens to her tirade without batting an eye.  God who doesn’t get offended when you come to Him in the middle of emotional upheaval. He won’t mind if you tell Him exactly what you’re feeling. He loves you and wants to hear about the difficulties you are facing.

The path to peace begins with one thing. After Martha says her piece, Jesus offers her the path to peace. Jesus tells her, “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.” (Luke 10:41). Jesus reminded Martha – and us – what to be “concerned” with, where to focus, and what should take a front row seat in our lives:  relationship with Him.

5 thoughts on “What we can learn

  1. Dear Fr. George,
    Thank you, once again, for your clear, gentle reminders of Jesus, through your musings.
    I live in California and found your webpage a few years ago. You have been a consistent inspiration and educator for me, too, even though I was not in your parish community.
    God bless you and your work.
    Deirdre M.
    (P. S. Who knew a computer could, other than frustrate, allow such peaceful, happy moments for reflection?)

  2. Fr. George, I missed these helpful thoughts and spiritual words. Like Martha, I often scurry around trying to make things perfect for family and friends and miss the beauty and joy of their company. I will tuck this musing in my noggin because it is so applicable to my story. Sometimes these thoughts I tuck away actually push themselves to the frontal brain, and I actually take a breathe and use them.

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