Tuesday of the Twenty-SeventhWeek in Ordinary Time
Martha and Mary
As they continued their journey he 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.” Lk 10,38-42
Is it better to listen to the Lord like Mary, or to serve, like Martha? It is the most important the prayer or the service? The Jesus answer is clear: to listen is the best choice, but it certainly applies to that context and at that time. In the everyday life both are necessary: “There’s a time to listen and a time to serve” the Qoelet would say. The problem does not involve the importance, but the priority. Our experience teaches us that, in order to be good servants, we must have first prayed and heard, either the Lord or that people which we are called to serve, in the family and in the profession. In these years of quiet hard work which the Lord gives me, including the teaching, study and housework, I like to look up from my desk or from the stove to the many sacred images which I wanted to decorate the house: pausing to look at it, I think I can be driven in the service to others. I cheer also the sound of the bells coming to me from the various churches in Saronno: an invitation to pause for a moment of prayer, then taking the work with new enthusiasm. But the best moment of the day is in the morning, when we, Pierluigi and myself, attend the first mass in our sanctuary of Our Lady of the Miracles, then we run to the station to catch the train to Milan. We know how to have heard the word of the Lord and to have received the eucharist enlighten us to make fruitful, during the day, the talents which we have been entrusted. We are called to be, from time to time, Martha and Mary, without asking too many questions, simply putting ourselves in the listening to the voice of God and of the neighbor.