Martha and Mary teach us how to love Jesus, which is essential to living a true Christian. This was the message Pope Francis delivered October 9, 2018, in his homily during Mass at Casa Santa Marta in the Vatican.
He referenced one of the iconic gospel passages from the 10th chapter of Luke:
Jesus entered a village
where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him.
She had a sister named Mary
who sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak.
Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said,
“Lord, do you not care
that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving?
Tell her to help me.”
The Lord said to her in reply,
“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things.
There is need of only one thing.
Mary has chosen the better part
and it will not be taken from her.”
Jesus was in their home and the two sisters reacted quite differently to his presence. Mary stayed close to the Lord and listened to him intently. Martha was busy and distracted with serving. The Pope warned today’s Christians to avoid distraction.
“There are so many Christians, yes, they go to Mass on Sundays, but they are always busy,” the Holy Father said. “They have no time for their children, they don’t play with their children. This is bad. ‘I have so much to do, I’m so busy…’ [they say]. And in the end they become worshippers of that religion which is busy-ness: they belong to the group of the busy, who are always doing things… But pause, gaze upon the Lord, take the Gospel, listen to the Word of the Lord, open your heart… No: always the language of the hands, always. And they do good, but not Christian good: a human good. These people lack contemplation. Martha lacked that. [She was] courageous, always going forward, taking things in hand, but lacking peace: losing time gazing upon the Lord.”
The pope offered a review of everyday life: “Contemplation and service: this is the path of our life. Let each of us think: how much time do I spend each day contemplating the mystery of Jesus? And then: how do I work? Do I work so much that it seems to be an alienation, or I work in coherence with my faith; Do I work as a service that comes from the Gospel? It will do us good to think about it. ”
The pope drew a comparison with everyday life; it is like when a husband comes home from work and finds his wife welcoming him. The one who is really in love does not simply continue her housework, but she “takes the time to stay with him”. So we too, the pope recommended, “let us take time for the Lord in the service of others”.