Jesus Visits Martha and Mary


Reflection on the Gospel of the Sixteenth Sunday In Ordinary Time

Luke 10:38-42

In today’s Gospel we are easily tempted to choose either Martha or Mary’s decision but the truth is they both represent two ways of living the Spiritual life. Martha represents the vita active, the active life. Mary, on the other hand, represents the vita contemplativa, the contemplative life. She sits at the feet of Jesus as a student and listens to him teach. Both the active life and the contemplative life are needed; to choose one over the other can create a false dichotomy. Virtue does not have a single form. In the example of Martha and Mary, there is added the busy devotion of the one and the pious attention of the other to the Word of God. ”Still, Christ gently reminds Martha that Mary’s is “the better part,” because actions — even acts of Christian charity and hospitality — if they are to be sustained, always follow being; that is, what we do flows naturally from who we are.

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