Martha and Maria
Tuesday, October 10, 2017
in Ordinary Time
1st Reading: Jon 3:1-10
Gospel: Luke 10:38-42
As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he entered a village and a woman called Martha welcomed him to her house. She had a sister named Mary who sat down at the Lord’s feet to listen to his words. Martha, meanwhile, was busy with all the serving and finally she said, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do all the serving?”
But the Lord answered, “Martha, Martha, you worry and are troubled about many things, whereas only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen the better part, and it will not be taken away from her.”
(Daily Gospel in the
While Jesus was in the house of Martha and Mary, only Mary had direct contact with him at the receiving room. Martha was away preparing food in the kitchen. But in the last analysis both were working for Jesus. In fact Jesus was pleased but not until Martha became envious of Mary’s part. “Lord,” Martha complained, “don’t you care that my sister has left me to do all the serving?”
Between Martha who was working in the kitchen and Mary who was entertaining Jesus, Martha was actually doing the harder job. Didn’t she deserve the slightest empathy from Jesus when she began ranting? From Jesus’ reaction it appears that God has no sympathy for hearts burning with envy for one who honestly works. Thus, instead of pacifying Martha Jesus took her to task for her self-centered attitude and declared Mary as having chosen the better part.
When Jesus declared that Mary had chosen the better part, he did not intend to set up precedence and drive us away from our workplaces to our prayer rooms to stay there all day. Work is an essential part of human existence and is in fact necessary in order to survive. But there must be a difference between a lower form of animal working for food in the fields and a human being sweating it out in the workplace. The former is driven by instinct while the latter is propelled by intelligence and free will. Human beings can put meaning to the work that they do.
Today’s Gospel story takes the meaning that human beings can put into his work to highest level: the level of sacrifice. The sacrifice is from two Latin words “sacrum” and “facere” which taken together means “to make sacred”. Work becomes sacred when offered to the Lord. Had Martha raised the level of her work to “sacrifice”, it wouldn’t have mattered to her where she was doing the work. Had Martha worked at higher planes she could have focused on the ultimate objective of what she was doing and still arrived at the same point where Mary was. – (Atty.) Rev. Fr. Dan Domingo P. delos Angeles, Jr., DM.
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