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Martha, Martha, Martha

This coming Sunday (July 17, 2022), we hear from the Gospel of Luke, chapter 10. Two sisters, Martha and Mary, receive Jesus in their home in a village. An account of this visit also is found in the Gospel of John. According to John's Gospel, the village is Bethany, and Lazarus (yes, the one raised from the dead) is their brother. In John's Gospel (chapter 12), Lazarus was at this meal and Mary anointed the Lord with perfumed oil and dried his feet with her hair (and Judas complained about that). This meal occurred after Lazarus had been raised and was six days before the Passover.

Luke's Gospel tells us that Mary sat at Jesus' feet, listening to him speak, while Martha was serving the guests. When Martha complains to Jesus, he responds, "There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part ..."

Some reflections and challenges for this week:

Is it possible that both the work of service and the time spent at Jesus' feet are two parts of the same "one thing" that is needed? I wonder, is Jesus' answer related to Deuteronomy 11:13 - we are to "love and serve the LORD, your God, with your whole heart and your whole being"? What did Jesus mean by "better part" (or "good part" in some translations) - better for whom?

When participating in the service of your community or parish, have you ever felt like Martha? Have you ever felt like Mary?

Take some time during the next week to serve Jesus, by serving someone in your life. Imagine Jesus watching you through them. Then have Martha's conversation with Jesus. What would this conversation be like for you? What would you complain about? Where and how would you have this conversation?

Take some time during the next week to sit like Mary at Jesus' feet, listening to him, perhaps at Mass, or in private prayer, or in Eucharistic adoration. What do you think you would hear from Jesus? What do you want him to teach you about? Could you be just still with him? Where and how would you take this time?

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