Summer is generally a season of hospitality, of entertaining guests, family members and old friends. Our sympathies are probably with Martha in today’s Gospel because almost all of us have been there: harried, busy about many things, and ” anxious and upset,” to quote the words of Jesus.
Though our sympathies may be with Martha, the lesson to be learned today clearly lies with Mary. Sitting at the feet of Jesus the Teacher, Mary , in turn, becomes the teacher of the three – part lesson: what Jesus calls ” the one thing necessary.”
First, Mary reminds us that what counts in life is not only the events we plan or the things we do for each other. What counts, rather, is the time that we willing to give one another. This applies not only to be a good host, but also to being a good friend, a good parent, a good spouse. So, Mary’s first spiritual lesson in life is that it is not only what we do for other, but also about the time that we give to them.
Secondly, sitting there at the feet of Jesus, Mary models for us the importance of listening. To be a good host, friend, parent , grandparent ; to be a good son and daughter, we must become a good listener . When we listen, we’re saying we care. When we listen , we can become healers of the loneliness that is part of the human condition.
Thirdly, how we relate to each other becomes a mirror image, the flip side, of how we relate to God. If we don’t know how to carve out time for each other, if we don’t develop our skills as a listener, what makes us think that we’re going to give God the gift of our time, let alone listen to the ways in which God speaks to us. Faith and a sense of the presence of God is built on the listening skills that we bring to our relationship with God. In listening to her friend , Jesus, Mary ends up listening to the very Word of God.
We can probably see traces of both Martha and Mary in ourselves. But do we clearly see what Jesus meant when he said,” Mary has chosen the better part?”
God bless you all
Your brother in Christ.