Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Be a Disciple like Martha

Be a Disciple like Martha

October 9, 2012
Tuesday of the Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time

By Beth DeCristofaro

The Lord said to her in reply, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things.  There is need of only one thing.  Mary has chosen the better part
and it will not be taken from her."
  (Luke 10:41-42)


“Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world.” (John 11:27)


“Martha, Martha.  We are so familiar with hearing Jesus say,  Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things.    As a busy chaplain, mother, wife, daughter, I relate to Martha.  Also I think Martha has a lot to show us how to be disciples.

First Martha shows us, in the Gospel reading, to step up and speak with honesty to Jesus.  "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving?  Tell her to help me."  Jesus hears her and takes her very seriously.  Jesus wants us to approach and bring our truest selves to him in our prayer. 

Jesus doesn’t tell her what she wants to hear.  He instead tells her what she needs to hear:   There is need of only one thing.  And that one thing is to put ourselves at the feet of God and listen.  Jesus points out that Mary “chose the better part”.  He doesn’t say the “best” part because, in fact, there are things that need to be done in our lives.  The very the fact of living takes doing.  But even doing good works by themselves is not the answer.  Rather by putting ourselves before God each and every day, our actions are formed in step with God’s Word, not our own desires. 

And, Martha, the disciple, listened.  She heard Jesus because the next time we meet her, in John’s Gospel, Martha has grown.  She again goes out to meet Jesus and now pours out her pain and disappointment, her heart’s desire:  "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.  Then she models for us an answer out of a deep faith and hope in spite of her broken heart:  "Yes, Lord.  I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world."  Martha is a model of witness for our own faith in God.


Martha’s model of discipleship shows us how to reach out to God for our deepest desires.  She demonstrates listening and growing closer to God, becoming enriched with God’s loving presence and therefore confident to speak her faith even in a moment of disappointment and grief.  Martha’s model of discipleship is to say with hope “YES, LORD”
What does our “Yes” to God sound like?  A leap of trust or a hedging of our own bets?  As you go about your day being Martha or Mary, Listen for God’s voice.  What does your heart’s desire hear?

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