Today we celebrate the feast of St. Martha. As per usual, there are options for the readings. The options for a Gospel reading are from John 11 or Luke 10. In these two readings, we see two different sides of Martha. In John, Martha is filled with faith, and even echoes the words of St. Peter in his great confession: “I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world.” Probably the picture that most remember of Martha is from the story in Luke 10.
Jesus has come to the house of Martha and her sister Mary. Martha is feeling the burden of all the serving, while her sister is sitting at the feet of the Lord listening to Him speak. So Martha says to Jesus, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me.” But Jesus does no such thing. Jesus says, “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.”
I don’t know about you, but I can really relate to Martha. I feel badly for her. Unfortunately, many may look at her as something of a whiner. But that’s a bad rap. Martha was exercising the gift of hospitality. She was diligent in preparing for and waiting on Jesus, who was a guest in her home. That is a noble thing. Rather than viewing Martha in a negative light, let’s remember her great faith and sharing her gift of hospitality – both things that we would do well to emulate.
Father, help us share in the great faith of St. Martha, and to be hospitable to others, especially your Son, Jesus. Amen.