If you love to cook, then you most likely relate to Martha in this story. Cooking takes time and when done at home for family and friends, it is a labor of love. A drawback is the cook can be so consumed with the food preparation, that he or she is not really present to family members and friends. It would have been better to select a less complicated menu and to have eliminated some items that required last minute details before serving.
And if you love to read, dream, learn, think and share ideas, then you most likely relate to Mary. She would have had some appetizers and drinks on the table ready for the arrival of guests, be they family members or friends. This person recognizes that good hospitality means you spend time conversing, sharing with others how the day has been, and what they have noted as being beautiful or interesting. The good host or hostess will not abandon the guests to attend to food preparation or housekeeping details.
Ideally, the good host or hostess will be attentive to their guests’ needs and making them feel comfortable and valued in their home. Martha had expectations of Mary and when Mary was not helping with the cooking and cleaning, Martha became angry. Mary prized the time Jesus was spending with her and her sister, Martha. She greatly valued His visit. Finally, Martha exhausted with all the chores said:
“Mary! PLEASE get up and help me!” She looked at Jesus, “Augh! Jesus tell Mary to get up and do something. Jesus stopped what He was doing. Everything was quiet for a minute. Finally, Jesus looked at Martha. With love, He said, “Martha, Martha! You are worried about every little thing! Thank you for your work to make my visit comfortable, but you do not need to worry about all of those things! Mary has decided to sit and listen to Me – and that is a good decision.”
Martha reconsidered what was true hospitality and she spent some time listening to Jesus. Mary assured her sister that she would help with dinner and the clean up after Jesus left. Mary and Martha learned how to be better hostesses that day and Jesus recognized both of them for their special gifts.
Lord, we thank You that Mary and Martha wanted to show their love for You in different ways using the gifts and talents You gave them. Help each of us to demonstrate the good qualities of Mary and Martha whether at family meals or dinner parties. Let us invite You into our homes and let us spend time with You as we read and reflect on Your words found in the Gospels. Amen