Thursday July 29 2021
17th Week in Ordinary Time
Ex. 40:16-21,34-38; Ps. 84(83):3,4,5-6,8,11;
Mt. 13:47-53 (Ps Wk I)
Are we too hard on Martha? No matter what praise Jesus had for Mary about her choosing “the better part”, we can be sure that Jesus was not criticising Martha nor rejecting her hospitality, for, as St John assures us, Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus (Jn.11:5). Moreover, Martha “was busy with all the details of hospitality.” The demands of hospitality are an essential part of life in most cultures, so Jesus probably spoke to Martha in a kindly and appreciative manner. Scholars discuss what Jesus meant by “one thing only is required”. Was this part of his reply to Martha encouraging her to be less anxious about the amount of food she was providing or about the welfare of the guests, or was it the lean-in to what he wanted to say about Mary choosing the better part? We can never know, but we must certainly read the whole story under the rubric quoted: Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus (Jn. 11:5). God, and of course Jesus, has different ways of expressing love for different people, and God’s love for us is what gives form and meaning to our lives.
Lord Jesus, bless our lives so that whatever way we serve You and our brothers and sisters will be for us “the better part.”
We can all understand the argument the disciples had. We spend much of our lives seeking status, protecting our status, or mourning the loss of status.