There is one truth about the human mind, that it is selective. This process happens within our mind even when we are not aware of it. In today’s gospel reading we see the struggle Martha is facing and we hear Jesus’ response to her.
Generally, when we read this gospel passage, we are tempted to think about an exclusive alternative. We usually think about two unreconcilable things: one being what Mary does, the other pertaining to Martha. And we tend to ask: who am I, Martha or Mary? In today’s gospel reading Jesus is inviting us to discover the source of our strength and commitment. In other words, he answers to the question of the “why” of our service to one another. He wants us to answer to the question: “why am I doing this?” Why am I serving? Is it because I just like it? Is it just because I feel like doing it? Or because I just do it?
For us Christians and disciples, service to benefit others has its life at the feet of Jesus Christ. We learn from Him and we get all that we need to further our ministry. That is why our service to one another is the expression of our service to God. “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.” What is that better part? As we can see, it is first and foremost to listen to the Lord and to rely on Him as the source of life and of every strength we can get to fulfill our mission as disciples. We are reminded once more of the intrinsic connection between prayer and action. We are called to integrate within us and our life both Mary and Martha. We are not expected to be just Mary or simply Martha. We are meant to be the combination of both. Our commitment to serving should always stem from our deep relationship with the Lord. In the celebration of the Eucharist, we get the blessings and grace that lead us to action. From the feet of Jesus, we move to the world where we are sent to serve God through and by our service to one another. If we rely on human beings as source of our commitment to serving God and one another, we will always experience deception, frustrations and dejection. But if we rely on Christ, nobody will take our joy to serve from us. For we know that the one who called us will always be at our side.
What then about the load of the burden and frustrations that comes with the commitment to serving? Here again the response from Jesus is clear: He is the answer to our life’s frustrations. Like Martha in today’s gospel, we experience hopelessness and powerlessness amidst the challenges and frustrations of our life. We even come to think that the Lord is far from us and He has abandoned us. Today he tells you that your generous heart that you give and put into what he asks of you will always bear fruit if you rely on him. For your ministry and duty to bear fruit, you are invited to reconcile prayer, lectio divina, meditation, adoration and action. For it is from Jesus, the Source of everything that is good, that you will draw water of courage and strength.
As we turn to the Lord to receive the answer to our life’s frustrations, let kneel at his feet, listening to Him in order to make our ministry a true response to his call. And let us continue to pray for one another and for our parish family.