16th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C
July 21, 2013
This gospel might beg the question, “So are you more like Martha or Mary?”
Some people are ‘doers’ and ‘followers.’
Martha is trying to be a good host. Mary just wants to visit with Jesus. Both have their merits. We certainly need to listen to Jesus but we must also provide for the needs of our guests. Didn’t Jesus feed the 5,000?
It’s good to reflect on our lives but asking if we are more like Martha or Mary might be making things too black and white. It can also be interrupted to Mary was right and Martha was wrong. Jesus never says what Martha did was wrong, merely that “Mary has chosen the better part.”
Martha was doing exactly what would be expected of her culturally but not just culturally but biblically. Look at Abraham. He sees three strangers coming and immediately provides a great meal with a tender choice steer. It was no ordinary meal.
Jesus tells us to love our neighbor and to help them in their needs. Martha sets out to do this as a good host.
So where does Martha go wrong?
Have you ever been to someone’s house for dinner and you hardly see the host because they are busy in the kitchen? I have. On a couple of occasions, I have literally been to people’s houses for dinner and not seen much of the host.
Now, it can be nice to have a good meal but I’m not into “fancy” food. Given a choice, when I go to someone’s house for dinner and given a choice of hamburgers from the grill and talking with the host or a big fancy meal but not seeing the host, I would choose the hamburgers.
Now, there can be a middle ground there someplace. It is possible to fix a ‘complete meal’ without spending hours and hours in the kitchen.
For me, it’s about the people, not the food. It’s about relationships.
I think this is what Jesus is saying to Martha. Jesus never says “Martha, you’re doing something wrong.” It’s more like “Martha, you are missing the point.”
Martha is being a very gracious host in feeding Jesus but she is missing out on something wonderful – Jesus.
We should all want to spend time with Jesus. Martha has the opportunity to spend time with Jesus face to face but she misses that opportunity.
Do you make time for other people? Do you make time for Jesus?
We are all unique individuals but we are not created to live in isolation. How do you view your relationship with other people? Providing for their needs, being a good host is just part of our relationship.
How about Jesus? Do you make time for Jesus?
Now, the quick answer to that could be, “Of course, we make time for Jesus. That’s why we are here in church.” Just being here is a start. Are you listening though? How about the rest of the week?
Do you listen to Jesus throughout the week? Do you actually make your faith part of your whole life?