Biblical meditation: “Mary chose the best part”

Sunday July 17, four texts will be read.
First reading Book of Genesis (Gn 18, 1-10a).
Psalm 14.
Second reading Letter of Saint Paul to the Colossians (Col 1, 24-28).
The Gospel according to Saint Luke (Lk 10, 38-42).

Luke 10, 38-42

“At that time Jesus entered a village. A woman named Marthe received him. She had a sister called Mary who, having sat at the feet of the Lord, listened to his word. As for Marthe, she was taken up with the multiple occupations of the service.

She intervened and said, “Lord, don’t you mind that my sister left me to do the service alone? So tell him to help me.”

The Lord answered her: “Martha, Martha, you worry and worry about many things. Only one is needed. Mary has chosen the better part, it will not be taken from her.” »

Pay attention to details

Today, Jesus is stopping over with two friends who intend to receive him properly: one is preparing the meal in the kitchen, while the other is having a conversation in the living room while waiting for us to sit down to eat. Who has never experienced this? As often in the Gospels, it is from a very simple scene of everyday life that fundamental teachings are transmitted which can be discerned in details to which attention should be paid.

Thus, Mary finds herself “sitting at the feet of the Lord”, which, in Luke, is the attitude of a disciple willingly listening to the master. His passivity, which has become almost proverbial, is therefore above all in appearance. As for Marthe, her eagerness undoubtedly reflects both a hyperactive temperament and the implementation of the sacred duty of hospitality, so important in biblical teachings.

Precepts which recommend the care taken in the accomplishment of a work, but which also warn against the risk of allowing oneself to be absorbed by the concerns of the world to the detriment of spiritual concerns.

The religious background thus posed, we therefore find ourselves in the presence of two people with very opposite characters but who are complementary.

A precarious harmony

But now this harmony turns out to be very precarious… In a fit of bad humor, Martha gets angry, asking Jesus to order his sister to help her with the tasks of the service. Is it to profit too from the teachings of Jesus? Is she overwhelmed? Annoyed by the immobility of Marie? Probably a bit of all of that.

Be that as it may, her outspokenness, a sign both of her impulsiveness and of the deep friendship that binds her to Jesus, elicits an equally abrupt response. falling sound ” hustle “, Jesus denounces the lack of attention of a mind centered on itself and obsessed with the task at hand.

On the contrary, it is a question of remaining in all circumstances in a receptive mode, of having, according to the image of the parable of the sower, a heart well disposed, fully attentive, so that the word and the moments of interior recollection carry of the fruit and not be choked by thorns – the various worries faced by all (Luke 8, 14).

Reconciling contemplative and active lives

It is in this sense that Mary chose “the best part”. It is still necessary to be in a position to be able to choose, which is not always the case for many people overwhelmed by the demands of daily life, whether family or professional in particular. If it is often difficult, if not impossible, to reconcile contemplative and active lives, then solidarity must be established between the disciples of Christ.

Allow us here to mention an anecdote: to his mother who asked him, during a visit to an abbey, the definition of a monk, the child replied that it was about people “who pray for those who have no time to pray”. A marvelous maxim which makes no value judgment and reminds us that it is thanks to such mutual aid that Jesus, and his disciples of yesterday and today, will be able to sit down at the banquet of the Marriage of the Lamb in order to enjoy the shared word… and succulent dishes!

We would like to give thanks to the author of this post for this outstanding material

Biblical meditation: “Mary chose the best part”

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