Exodus 32:15-24, 30-34; Psalm 106:19-23;John 11:19-27
“When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went to meet him.” (John 11:20)
Martha often gets the short end of the stick, doesn’t she? When you think of her, most likely the first thing that comes to mind is how she fussed over preparations for Jesus and missed the “better part” that her sister had chosen, sitting at Jesus’ feet. Everyone wants to be a “Mary” and not a “Martha.”
But when Jesus comes to their house after the death of her brother, it’s Martha, not Mary, who goes out to meet him. Does she go to remonstrate with Jesus? Maybe. She does say that if Jesus had been there Lazarus would never have died. But she goes farther. She tells Jesus that she believes that God will do whatever he asks. In the end, she makes one of the most profound professions of faith in the Gospels: “Yes, Lord, I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world” (John 11:27).
Mary and Martha traditionally represent the contemplative and the active lives of faith. Martha is a woman of action. She may not stay still, but that doesn’t keep her from a deep relationship with Jesus. The same Holy Spirit who worked in Mary also worked in Martha, developing holiness in both of them according to their own personalities. In order to love God, Martha didn’t have to become a “Mary.” She just had to use her gifts for his glory.
Sometimes we can think that one path of holiness is better than another. But the beauty of the communion of the saints is that we see countless unique personalities bearing fruit for the kingdom of God! In fact, it’s the beauty of parish life as well: each of us in our own way witnessing to the power of the Risen Lord.
So if you feel compelled to go out and feed the poor—great! But don’t write off the quiet person spending hours in Eucharistic adoration. Or if you’re committed to defending the right to life, keep on working! But don’t look down on others who use their energy to lead the children’s liturgy or clean the church. We are all essential parts in the body of Christ!
“Father, thank you for giving me a calling that is fitted to my own gifts and personality!”~WAU