Today's Gospel passage is the familiar story of Martha and Mary in their home in Bethany. Jesus and his disciples have stopped by for a visit. Martha complains to Jesus that Mary should be helping her prepare a meal for him and for their other guests. Jesus proclaims that Mary has chosen the better part.
Coming as it does right after the story of the Good Samaritan, this Gospel passage reinforces that the life of the Christian disciple has to be a balance between the active and the contemplative life style. However, it is also important to remember that at this point in the Gospel we have already passed the incident at the end of chapter nine in which we read that Jesus has decided to go to Jerusalem. There he will die at the hands of his enemies.
Mary has chosen the better part. In other words, Mary has recognized what is the more important response to Jesus at this point in his human history. He is on his way to die. This is not the time to be bustling about the kitchen to prepare a meal. Mary recognizes that her time at the feet of Jesus is limited, and she decided to spend that time listening to Jesus. Mary has correctly perceived not only what she needs but what Jesus needs as well.
Each of us must find a time for sitting at the feet of Jesus. It matters not whether that be in the morning or evening hours, whether at midday or long after the sun has set. Each of us must find the time to sit silently with the Word of God, to let it soak in as the gentle rain softens the earth. This will give us the strength to be Good Samaritans in our own world.
Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator