Forget sibling rivalry. 
For a long time, people interpreted this narrative of Martha and Mary as an opposition between the sisters. 

We have portrayed Martha as the hardworking, self-sacrificing host to Jesus. 

And Mary was the lazy, unyielding woman who delighted merely in leisurely sitting at Jesus feet, listening to his stories and his lessons.

Forget the question of who was actually greater. In reading this gospel, people had the tendency to exalt Mary over Martha. 

Mary’s docile position of absorbing Jesus’ words was seen as greater than Mary’s preoccupation with matters in the kitchen. 

But in fact, Jesus did not put down Martha’s efforts. He surely enjoyed her culinary delights, too.

An effort in gaining new insight into the story gives a nuanced translation of the text: 

“Mary has chosen the better part.” 

The author of the study said that in some texts, the Bible actually says: “Mary also has chosen the better part” meaning that Martha was also a listener to Jesus, and perhaps an even earlier one that was why she now had time to spare in the kitchen. 

Both were women disciples of the Lord and no one was greater than the other.

What Jesus said to Martha was a message very important to all of us today. 

Martha was “too busy” when Jesus came to bring the right focus and the right intention to the lives of his disciples. 

Like everyone else, Martha was too easily distracted from that focus and spent her energy on things that dissipate the spirit rather than energize it.

Today, the default answer to the question “How are you?” is no longer “I’m fine” but “Well, I’m busy.” 

Busy with what? 

Our lives are cluttered by so many things to do, people to deal with, thoughts to ponder, plans to carry out, and places in our bucket list of must-see. 

That is why people are also more stressed, sickly, sleepless and worried in our time. 

And though we are too busy with many things, we have no time for the essential things – talking with our children, praying or meditating, catching up with true friends, visiting our elderly parents or relatives, or taking time out for much needed vacation or unwinding.

The Lord Jesus’ challenge is so timely to us who have glorified being busy. 

Jesus does not want us to be lazy; only to be focused, concentrated and driven towards the things that really matter. 

Ask yourself today what makes you busy and then pray to the Lord for light to find out if this thing makes you grow as a person, as a neighbor to others and as a committed Christian.

 (paki-share po para lalong makatulong sa iba at dumami ang magpuri sa Panginoon. thanks po!)