The Better Part
This Sunday’s Gospel (Lk 10: 38-42) narrates the story of Martha and Mary. The sisters are friends of Jesus. Because of the presence of Jesus, Martha is caught up by the details of hospitality. She manages the kitchen and food preparation. The menu for lunch sets her in panic mode. It might be embarrassing to prepare a lousy meal for the “star” of Jerusalem.
But Mary was at peace. She had fixed her gaze on Jesus since He arrived. Though she was entertaining her very special guest with her presence, it was Jesus who awed her with delightful stories and surprising stuffs. Jesus had such a magnetic personality that she found herself sitting at his feet and listening intently on his words.
It was at this point that Martha complains to Jesus. “Lord, could you please tell my sister to help me, at least, in setting the table for lunch.” I assume she felt peeved. Perhaps in her mind she was saying nasty things at her like “Don’t you have the initiative to help? How insensitive can you be! You’re such a lazy sister!”
To her surprise Jesus simply says: “Martha, Martha.. you are anxious and worried about many things. Only one thing is necessary. You could also come and sit here with Mary!
Martha wanted Jesus to listen to her. She complains. Perhaps she wanted Jesus to appreciate what she’s doing for him. But Jesus teacher her something very important: Martha, learn to prioritize! Above all else, give me importance. Give me your full and undivided attention.
Jesus would like us to focus on 3 Qualities of Mary:
Our world is so noisy. There is a tendency of people to be afraid of silence. Some drown quiet moments in their lives. God, in fact, has too much competition for our short span of attention. We have so many distractions and there are so many voices we listen to. Because we don’t listen, we lost touch with each other. We don’t understand each other. This misunderstanding results to conflict and quarrels. God reminds us to stop and listen.
The purpose of listening is to learn. It is important that we learn from God because He is the author of our existence. He is our source. Moreover, our relationship with Him makes our life meaningful. He is our reliable guide in life. Listening, learning and reflecting brings enlightenment to our lives.
A prominent British philosopher, Dr. Anthony Flew considered as the world’s best-known atheist, publicly announced in 2004 his belief in the existence of God. For half a century this professor of England’s University denied God. But what convinced him was the theory of the DNA. His study of man’s DNA made him conclude that it is a product of an infinite Intelligence, a superior Mind. DNA is God’s program for each person.
In giving her full and undivided attention, Mary was obviously expressing her great love for Jesus. Loving God is the one thing necessary in life! It reminds us of the Gospel last Sunday – love God with your whole heart, mind, will and strength. Pope Benedict XVI, in one of his homilies, said: “without love, even the most important activities lose their value and give no joy. Without profound meaning, all our activities are reduced to sterile and unorganized activism.”