Poor Martha…She works so hard while all her sister Mary does is sit around listening to Jesus. When she complains, Jesus tells her that Mary has chosen the better part. Poor Martha, she even no longer has her own feast day. In 2020 Pope Francis included her whole household so today is no longer the memorial of St. Martha but the Memorial of Saints Martha, Mary, and Lazarus.
I am sure that Martha is not complaining because she is in heaven with Mary and Lazarus. The story of Martha and Mary, the story of action or contemplation, is not an either/or story. Sometimes action is the better part: the Good Samaritan chose the better part when he helped the man who fell in with robbers while the priest and Levite chose the way of prayer and ritual purity. The story of these two sisters tells us that both ways are necessary: we need to pray, to talk to God and to listen to God. But we also need to put our prayer into action by helping those in need.
In today’s Gospel we hear the story of the journey of faith of these two sisters. They challenge Jesus: “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” They also listen to Jesus and respond in faith: “I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world.”
In our own journey of faith, we need to follow the way of both Martha and Mary. We need to listen to Jesus and to interpret the Gospel by “doing.” We may feel the need at times to question or challenge God but we are also called to a trusting faith: “I have come to believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God.”