Reflecting on Lk. 10: 38-42
My husband Ben just came in from the garage, grinning. “Well, that was harder than I thought, but it’s all ready to go.” Our housemate had asked him for help with her car, and he spent the morning changing the oil and the air filter. He is never more content than when doing something mechanical, or something that requires physical strength, for someone else. He’s a Martha.
Except that, now, showered and relaxed, he’s back in his chair, reading his book on Saints in Church History. We won’t see him for the rest of the day. He’s a Mary, for sure.
We all are both, aren’t we? We love to serve. Thank God for the Marthas who make every event—a funeral, a wedding, a baptism—so comfortable for the rest of us. They make delicious and nourishing food magically appear, and then just as mysteriously disappear when we are finished. Parish life as we experience it would disappear without them.
Those same Marthas, though, are the ones in the front row for any scripture classes. When there’s an opportunity to be Mary, they’re the first ones there.
I have a priest-friend who shared this about the whole Martha/Mary pendulum. After giving a talk at a parish retreat, he would help gather the dishes, and stay in the kitchen washing them up as people were leaving.
When he was praised for this service he wished he could tell the truth: Do you know what a relief it is to have some quiet, after talking all day? I’m an introvert, and I’m exhausted. Please give me some dishes to wash.
He’s a Mary-Martha. I’ll bet you are too.
What service do you render, cheerfully, to help strengthen your parish?