Martha and Mary are both valuable members of Jesus' discipleship despite their very different roles. Martha maintains her home and cares for her guest, performing important day-to-day tasks that are a necessary part of life. Jesus knows and understands the human experience, He knows that we need to cook and clean. There is no indignity to these tasks! Just as St. Therese of Liseaux would observe over a thousand years later, it is possible to do small tasks with great love; something we are called to do. Martha is expressing her deep, abiding faith and love in the Lord through her tasks. She honors him with her diligence and hard work.
But her sister, Mary, fills a different role in their community of faith. Her faith and love is shown through her making time to sit and be still, listening to the Lord. We are called to sit with Jesus on Sundays, but there are some of us like Mary who share their love and faith through stillness and quiet contemplation. Mary is no greater than Martha, no more important than Martha; she has just been chosen to have a different portion and fill a different role. Some of us will find it easier to praise God in the quiet stillness of lives instead of our daily tasks. Either way, as long as they are done with mindful intention and love, we have achieved what the sisters hoped to achieve: time with our Lord.
After reading about Martha and Mary, reflect on your own day-to-day. What role do you fill? Do you even know? Are you a do-er, a listener, somewhere in-between? I think most of us are a little of both, but we also tend to lean one way or another! Finally, intercede through our Mother, Mary for her guidance in finding your role and ask her to help you appreciate those who do what you cannot, so that you can avoid comparing and complaining like Martha was tempted to do. We each have an important role to play, whether sitting at the feet of Jesus and listening or completing a task to better serve Him.
You can read more about women's roles in the church and in faith in last Friday's post here