Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Martha, Martha: Daily Mass Homily--Tuesday, July 29th, 2014 (Memorial of St. Martha)
Our Gospel recounts Jesus’ visit to the home of his friends Martha and Mary. While Martha was “anxious and worried about many things” while serving the Lord, Mary made herself present to Jesus.
Jesus’ words to Martha were not to rebuke her hospitality or welcome—these were both cherished virtues in Jesus’ culture. And Jesus is not endorsing laziness around the house! Rather, he wanted Martha to remember the point of all she was doing and to show that Mary’s focus on Jesus was more important.
The Fathers of the Church see in Martha and Mary examples of two forms of living out the faith. Martha represents the active life and Mary the contemplative. We need both in our world and in our Church. Those of us who live in the world—priests, religious and all the faithful—must live out and proclaim the Gospel in the world. Others are called to devote their lives to prayer in solitude and this features many religious orders.
In our busy lives, we may fall in the same way as Martha did by anxiously trying to get everything done. This includes our personal prayer life. Many of us have our list of prayers to complete each day—the Rosary, readings, novenas and the like. Each of these are beautiful devotions, but remember that we are not bound to a list but to a Person. If the checklist gets burdensome, redirect your focus to spend quality time with Jesus.
May we follow the virtues of Martha in her efforts to be hospitable and welcoming. At the same time, remember Jesus’ words today—“There is need of only one thing…”—and don’t forget to simply spend time with him.