Gospel LK 10:38-42 The Gospel reading, the story of the sisters Martha and Mary.
Today is the Memorial of Saint Martha, poor suffering Martha.
I have read this or heard this Gospel all my life and always I had the same thought: “Why does Martha get the raw deal and Mary gets to do what she wants!” I used to think about how selfish Mary was to not help her sister. These thoughts came at a time when I was in a perfectionistic frame of mind. I thought if I didn’t do it it, (whatever that it is), wasn’t going to to get done.
I wonder now if that isn’t where Martha was. Here is Jesus, her friend, her Lord, her Saviour, and what is she doing: housework.
Today I heard this Gospel and sat straight up in my pew. It’s all about Balance!
What does Jesus say to Martha? “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.” At first what Jesus is saying kind sound a little belittling, especially if you feel as if no-one helps you. It’s as if he isn’t going to command Mary to start working and help Martha. And you want him to force Mary to help because you want and need help for all you have to do.
But look at these words, they are important: Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. When we are out of balance, we allow worry and anxiety to come into our lives and blind us to those things, those gifts that are all around us. Jesus isn’t saying to Martha that she shouldn’t be worried, when appropriate, but she is putting too much into worry and allowing her perfectionism to take over. Her perfectionism is like a little devil on her shoulder spitting venom into her ear about how Mary never helps, how Mary is always getting out of things. This out of balance view has Martha not being able to see is that the dishes can wait, but those rare moments will fly, and she/you/me will never get them back. So, if Jesus comes to your house today, stop doing the dishes and sit for a while at his feet; it will do a world of good.