Tuesday of 27th Week, uneven numbered year Mardi de la 27e semaine, année impaire

"The Lord answered, ’Martha, Martha, you worry and fret about so many things…’
Tuesday 6 October 2015

Jo.3,1-10 Ps.129 Lk.10,38-42

Tuesday of 27th week, even numbered year

“In the course of their journey he 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.”

Jesus travels through towns and villages announcing the Good News of God’s Infinite Love. He seeks to tie a friendship with us, a real Love. When he comes into the village of Bethany, he is received in the house of his friends. This is the time for sharing and friendship - shared love. A woman called Martha welcomes him into her home. She has a sister named Mary who stays sitting there at the Lord’ feet. Mary is contemplating the face of Jesus as she sits there at his feet : he is the loved one of her life. These two figures of Martha and Mary are well known to us and we can identify them rapidly by opposing them. Martha would be the more efficient one, accomplishing useful tasks, whereas Mary would be the one who knows how to take time to listen to Jesus, the Word of God. And so according to our own immediate needs, whether they be materiel or spiritual, we criticize one or the other! But this analysis is far too simplistic. If we see things from the point of view of Faith, a charitable work takes on all its weight and its value when it is not simply a work of human collaboration, but a collaboration of our freedom for God’s work. The world, as well as our own lives, and all our actions, can only find their value and deepest meaning when they find in the Trinitarian Love their source and accomplishment.

“Now Martha, who was distracted with all the serving, came to him and said, ’Lord, do you not care that my sister is leaving me to do all the serving all by myself? Please tell her to help me”.

Martha is agitated and complains. She’s lost her balance. She shows us how we need to be careful about losing the meaning of our work. Now, our services and work find a positive meaning in Love, they find their meaning in a dynamic of life which moves towards the perfection of charity. From now on we come to the understanding that prayer and action are not opposed, indeed, prayer and action are lived as though we put into work the teaching on charity, and they both become a unique way that is unified of being God’s and being in the

world. We might think that as soon as we are at the service of someone we are charitable and in this way we may imagine that perfection consists in multiplying acts of charity! And we’ll accuse ourselves about everything we haven’t been able to do. Like Martha, we can do all that without having charity. Now Jesus tells us, ’I am the vine, you are the branches. The one who remains in me and me in Him bears much fruit.For outside of me you can do nothing. If someone doesn’t remain in me, he will be thrown away like a dried up branch; it is picked up, thrown into he fire and burned.“The true Christian action is an intimate union with Jesus. We therefore cannot oppose prayer.”But the Lord answered, ’Martha,’ he said, ’you fret and worry about so many things and yet few are needed, indeed only one. It is Mary who has chosen the better part, and it is not to be taken from her."

If Jesus allows himself to take up Martha, it’s not because she acts but because she is agitated. To act and to be agitated aren’t the same thing. Like not doing anything doesn’t necessarily mean to pray and even less to be a contemplative. In every life, one thing alone matters, and Jesus makes this clear. It is because Mary, contrary to Martha, knows how to put her love into work , that Jesus praises her. The Gospel tells us about Martha’s attitude ; she is taken up with multiple tasks of service. Agitated and worried, she in the end protests against her sister. First of all she is taken up with tasks, that is to say her gaze is limited to what she has to do. Entirely taken up with the organization of things, she forgets why she is serving and for whom she is serving. In losing the meaning of her service, she also loses her inner peace. Now, it is a matter of being in an intimate relationship with the Lord Jesus whose links of love will never be taken away from her.They begin on this earth and end in heaven. Jesus restores our relationship with himself, it is above all a relationship of love before being a relationship of service or of work. Saint Paul will say : ’Whatever you may do, whatever you eat, whatever you drink, do so always in the name of the Lord.’ Whatever our activities may be in life, whatever slant our temperament may take, whether we are ’active’ or ’contemplative’ - an indication is given to us for our call. It is about remaining in Jesus’ presence and not to let us be distracted by his presence, this is the most important aspect in our lives.

We ask for the grace to incarnate the attitude of Saint Martha and Mary in such a way that our life may be deeply unified and may be a peaceful one.