I have always sided with Martha, in defense of her valid complaint against her lazy sister, sitting on her virtual backside while Martha cooks and serves what was most likely a sizable crowd. The Lord was generally accompanied by large groups of people. Imagine suddenly learning that you need to cook for twenty of thirty people, without help?
But when I read Bishop Baron's brief and intriguing comment in Magnificat, I am now rethinking that well-known Gospel passage which appears only in Luke. When we demean the activity of Martha and elevate the inactivity of Mary, we miss the point. In doing so, we risk erroneously upholding all inactivity as contemplation, while dismissing the need for action. The point has nothing to do with activity or with its absence but rather, it is Christ's admonition to Martha.
"Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."
"Worried and anxious about many things"...exactly what happens to me when I allow myself to be overwhelmed by the emotions, fears and anxieties of whatever looms before me. Peter was able to walk on water until he takes his eyes off Jesus. Then he sinks, instantly. But Peter, the Rock, immediately reaches out to Christ, in perfect faith:
But when he saw the strength of the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!"
All too often, I sink, consenting to "being worried and upset by many things." Okay Mary, now I get why you have the better part: Him.
Indeed and Amen.