One Thing

"You are worried and anxious about many things. There is need of only one" (Luke 10:40).

The beautiful story of Martha and Mary is less about who is right than about focus, Both sisters love Jesus and are eager to show him hospitality. Jesus arrives with two hungers, for food and for welcome. Martha welcomes him with her attention to table and her skills in the kitchen. Mary welcomes him with her face, her eyes and ears and her heart. 

Think of the last time you had a meal with a friend and ask what you remember most about that encounter. Delicious food and drink, the perfect setting, excellent service and all other amenities quickly fade before the intimacy of the moment as two souls come to rest in each other's company. Time disappears as the bubble of attention shapes and deepens the conversation, and as peace descends on the miracle of two solitudes becoming one transcendent communion. 

Without Martha's practical skills there would have been no meal. But what threatened the moment most was her anxiety and her resentment of her sister. Jesus reaches out to draw Martha into the feast of love Mary is already serving by her attentiveness to the Word, the main course and perfect gift wherever Jesus goes. He is the host and the meal, the bread of life, manna from heaven, the one thing necessary.  

Like another parable, Luke's "Prodigal Son," the goal is not to choose one son over the other, but to bring both of them to the table in love. Jesus rescued a dinner party at the house of his beloved friends by restoring them to a single focus, himself. In that miracle, salvation came to that house.