Luke 10:38-42 gives us the kitchen scene, where Martha the busybody whines about not getting any help from Mary who sits at Jesus' feet. The Lord Jesus tells her:
"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."
The other gospel reading (depending on which one your parish priest chose for Mass today) is John 11:19-27 where Martha displays the blossoming of her faith when Jesus arrives four days after Lazarus has died. Instead of getting mad at his lateness, Martha displays the strength of her belief in Christ when she says:
"Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world."
What happened in between, you might ask? What caused the change?
Martha Listened to the Lord's Advice for HerFirst off, she listened to what Jesus told her. She didn't just let it go in one ear and out the other.
If your boss tells you you're doing something wrong, you'd immediately work to correct it right? Well, in the kitchen scene, Martha was scolded by her Lord for being anxious about many things. Did she sit on that info and postpone acting on it? I'd venture to say she took it as a wake up call to stop being overly busy with all the things of the world (cooking, eating) and start prioritizing the things of God (praying, learning) and being closer to the Lord. But she'd never have re-evaluated her outlook had she not listened intently to what Jesus was telling her.
Martha Prioritized "BE" Before "DO"You can tell she loves being busy -- cooking, feeding, serving. But after Jesus' words, she obviously realized there was a need for her to first BE a faithful, faith-filled follower of the Lord and not simply concentrate on DOING the work.
Too many of us are busy doing the Lord's work when our hearts are not purified, when we remain in mortal sin, when we shun the confessional and the sacraments. By doing so, we do the work relying on our own strength and our own flesh instead of being a pure, faithful follower who relies on God's grace. We DO instead of BE. No wonder we get so stressed out and ineffective at our ministries.
Martha Believed Christ had the Power to Raise the DeadHer brother had died four days before. Jesus arrived late. She told him that had he been there, Lazarus may not have died. But note: she didn't wail, she didn't whine or wallow in self pity. She wasn't even angry or bitter. She merely stated a fact that her faith led her to believe -- if Jesus asked God to revive Lazarus, it would be done.
"But even now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you."
What faith! What strong convictions! And yet, as Christians and Catholics, do we have the strength of Martha's beliefs and love for God? How many of us live our lives only half-believing in the Lord's power to work miracles? We do not have because we do not ask. And sometimes even if we ask, we don't believe it will be given. (See James 1:6 "But he should ask in faith, not doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed about by the wind.")
St.Martha, pray for us!
That we may first BE faith-filled followers of Jesus before we DO all the works that fill our days.
That we listen closely to what the Lord is calling us to do.
That we may rely wholly on the Lord's strength and power to do His work.
Martha Was Too Busy To Hear The Need