This Sunday - February 4th
There may be no story in the Gospels that provokes as much disagreement as the story of Mary and Martha’s dinner party. The sisters Mary and Martha have invited Jesus over for a meal. While Martha busies herself preparing dinner, Mary just mingles with the guests, enjoying the company of Jesus. Eventually, Martha has had enough. ”Jesus,” she says, “don’t you care that my sister is making me do all the work?” But Jesus tells Martha, “Martha, you’re worried about so many things. But really, only one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the better thing. I won’t take it away from her.”
Many of us will identify with Martha, because we’re hard-working folks who won’t put up with laziness. We might well resent Mary, hanging out at Jesus’ feet while her sister did all the work. But there’s more going on here than we might immediately perceive. Jesus was soon to start out on his trip to Jerusalem, where he would be arrested and put to death. His days were few. This was no time for laboring in the kitchen! It was time to enjoy one another’s company and glean whatever wisdom there was yet to learn. Mary had indeed chosen the best way to spend these final hours with Jesus.
There are many choices we can make about how we’ll spend our time. There are times when we need to work, to commit ourselves to the mission and keep our noses to the grindstone. Then, there are times we simply need to enjoy each other’s company and let our loved ones know how much they’re appreciated. May God grant us the wisdom to “discern the times,” and to give our earnest attention to the projects or the people who need it the most.