Since Sunday evening I’ve been at a meeting in New Hampshire which is taking place at a beautiful little retreat center called Halleluiah Farm. One of the best things about the farm is the hospitality of the hosts, Sandy and Roger, who unobtrusively see to our every need and produce delicious, exquisitely presented meals in a way that seems effortless. What they serve us is actually love: they love each other and the ministry they perform; consequently the love spills over in beauty to all of us.
In today’s gospel (LK 10:38-42) we find Martha in the kitchen preparing a meal for Jesus. I have great sympathy for Martha, as would anyone knowing her situation, I think. First of all, my guess is that Jesus tends to “drop in” on this family and I doubt that he comes alone, as the gospels say he travels around pretty constantly with quite an entourage. Secondly it appears that she doesn’t have help. I don’t think Jesus is remonstrating with her when he says, “Martha, Martha, you’re so worried about many things! Only one is necessary. Mary has chosen the better part.” I think his message to her is rather something like, “Martha, my sweet friend, you work so hard to please me. Whatever you do is enough. Don’t stress over it. Come and sit with us for awhile and share your news with me. I just want to be with you and Mary and Lazarus, my dearest friends.”
Whatever the work of today, it is important to stop at some point and recognize the invitation of Jesus or God to come and sit awhile and share what’s going on in our lives. The love is there, waiting to be showered on us.
This is a lovely reading of the Mary-Martha story. It is hard to view it as an “either or” situation. This reading is inviting to all!