Martha and Mary
Now as they were traveling along, (Jesus) entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to his word. But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.” But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” Luke 10: 38 – 42
Life is a journey from Martha to Mary. A journey from being scattered to being whole; from being worried and bothered about many things, to resting peacefully in the presence of God. But success on this journey doesn’t depend on reaching a destination; on waking up one morning and finally having become Mary. Success happens when we realize that God loves us unconditionally whether we happen to be Martha or Mary.
Before we were born and even before we were conceived, each one of us was a little soul known and loved by God and destined to live with him for all eternity. Like a mother loves her child, God loves us. When we are happy and at peace, God sings for us; and when we are hurt and broken, God weeps.
But life is hard, things get scary and sometimes we forget — or maybe we never really had a chance to understand — that God loves us forever. And like Martha we become worried and bothered about many things.
Then along comes Jesus into our life, just like he came to Martha and Mary’s house for dinner 2,000 years ago. He comes to us through the Eucharist; he comes to us through other people, people who love us. And Jesus speaks to the Martha within us — that part of our mind that is worried and bothered.
“Be still for a while,” Jesus tells us. “Let me hold you. Rest your troubled head upon my chest and let my love and my peace envelop you. There is need for only one thing: reach beyond that part of you that is Martha, that part that has been hurt and broken, and find that part of you that is Mary, that part at your center, and know that I love you and am with you for always.”
Life is a journey from Martha to Mary but let us not forget that both of these holy women are saints. We may want to transform ourselves from the anxiety-ridden Martha with her Type A personality into the peaceful, centered, Zen-like Mary. But let us be mindful that there is holiness at both ends of this spectrum; and that as human beings we are never either Martha or Mary, but both of these holy women at the same time. And let us never ever forget that God loves us unconditionally at any given moment whether we happen to be Mary or Martha.
With love, Deacon Lex