Jesus visits Martha and Mary

In Fr Paul’s absence, Anne O’Brien reads today’s Gospel from Luke (10:38-42) about Martha and Mary welcoming Jesus into their home.

Anne says that in today’s Gospel we see Martha keeping busy with her work and, Mary taking time to sit and listen and contemplate with Jesus.

Martha is filled with feelings of anxiety. Such feelings of anxiety are being experienced by many people today with the effects of the pandemic, people losing their jobs, and all the changes COVID has made us take on board. More people are suffering with mental health issues; and burn out is also becoming more evident to health providers. Technological devices and inventions are advertised as making life more convenient and fast but often this only increases anxious behaviour.

In today’s Gospel, Martha reveals a sincere heart in desiring to serve the Lord. She is a model of hospitality for us. In contrast to her activity and service, Mary switches off. She is attentive to the presence of Jesus. Mary’s model of being contemplative and engaging in prayerful listening can also help us in times of stress and anxiety.  What we need to think is ‘Do we have the balance of both models of discipleship, giving time in active service and also quiet contemplation?’

To expand on these thoughts, Anne shares the poem ‘We are not in the same boat’. She says that the COVID pandemic and its associated social distancing and self-isolation measures have transformed the everyday fabric of society. In times of such extreme crisis and change it is very easy to get caught up with our own struggles and to feel isolated from our own community.

While we, firstly, must look at our own well-being we also need to remember everyone is struggling in their own way and a simple, kind gesture may help someone in a profound way.   During this time, when we cannot physically wrap our arms around each other, let us find ways to care and be connected to our neighbours and loved ones.

Let us remember from today’s Gospel making sure we have the time in contemplative prayer and the time to put our service into action.