Jul 29 – Memorial for St. Martha
Jesus liked to stay at the house of Martha, Mary and Lazarus, his friends at Bethany, when he was in Judaea. One of these visits has ever remained dear to Christian memory. On that occasion, Martha, busily serving the Master, asked Him to persuade Mary to help her. Jesus explained to her that certain souls, called by God, should choose a better part still — the primary duty of listening to Him and contemplating Him.
After His Ascension, she was seized by the Jews, together with many other Christians. They were put on board a ship without sails or oars, and left helpless on the open sea. But God guided the ship, and they all arrived safely at Marseilles. Martha, after having won the love and admiration of the people of Marseilles by the sanctity of her life and her wonderful charity, withdrew with several virtuous women to a spot remote from men, where she lived for a long time, greatly renowned for her piety and prudence.
Moses went and told the people all the commands of the Lord and all the ordinances. In answer, all the people said with one voice, ‘We will observe all the commands that the Lord has decreed.’ Moses put all the commands of the Lord into writing, and early next morning he built an altar at the foot of the mountain, with twelve standing-stones for the twelve tribes of Israel. Then he directed certain young Israelites to offer holocausts and to immolate bullocks to the Lord as communion sacrifices. Half of the blood Moses took up and put into basins, the other half he cast on the altar. And taking the Book of the Covenant he read it to the listening people, and they said, ‘We will observe all that the Lord has decreed; we will obey.’ Then Moses took the blood and cast it towards the people. This’ he said ‘is the blood of the Covenant that the Lord has made with you, containing all these rules.’
Jesus came to a village, and a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. She had a sister called Mary, who sat down at the Lord’s feet and listened to him speaking. Now Martha who was distracted with all the serving said, ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister is leaving me to do the serving all by myself? Please tell her to help me.’ But the Lord answered: ‘Martha, Martha,’ he said ‘you worry and fret about so many things, and yet few are needed, indeed only one. It is Mary who has chosen the better part; it is not to be taken from her.’
You worry and fret about so many things
As individuals, we think a lot. A father can be preoccupied about how to provide for the family. A mother may have a very long ‘to do’ list for the house — assist husband, take care of the children, take care of the house, feed the pets, go to the store — the list never ends. A student can be very busy and stressed about schoolwork. A worker can be very busy thinking about his/her job, the deadline, the boss, colleagues, and many more.
It is who we are; we are thinking creatures. We think ahead about what we will do next even though we are still yet to complete our current task. It is as if we want to exhaust ourselves and use up all the energy we have. And there are some who will not stop working unless they are totally drained and pass out.
I am somewhat guilty of that. I continue to be a workaholic even I feel really sick. I abuse my body for the sake of accomplishing my work. Most of the time, we want to imitate Martha. We want to do everything and we criticize those who are not as engaged as us. We just have to be moving all the time so that we can accomplish everything.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus visits the home of Mary and Martha. And Mary was the one who accommodated and entertained Jesus. As I reflect on it more, if I were to visit someone, it is because I want to be with them, talk to them, and have a fruitful conversation. If we have something to eat, then it is just an accessory. Mary was the one who addressed the more important thing by greeting Jesus. It showed that for Mary, there was no greater thing than to be with Jesus.
The Gospel is telling us that in life, it is proper to work hard so as not to be hungry. But working hard 100% of the time is not healthy. We should set aside time to relax and replenish our energy. Faith and hard work come hand in hand. Our God is a merciful God and He has given us this gift of life. Let us learn to work hard and pray harder.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Beryl Baterina)
Prayer: Father God, please grant us the ability to choose You above all. May we live our lives in accordance with your will. May we work hard like Martha and have a strong faith like Mary.
Thanksgiving: We thank you Lord, for your grace of mercy. We thank you Father God, for our source of income and for this faith.