Working with the Word

Focusing the Gospel

Key words and phrases: Martha welcomed him, burdened with much serving, do you not care, anxious and worried, better part

To the point: Martha’s generous hospitality is marred by her upbraiding Jesus and complaining to him about Mary. Rather than being truly hospitable, she is “anxious and worried” only about accomplishing a task. Her welcome shifts away from Jesus to herself. Busy about herself, she misses the “better part”: centering on Jesus. The “better part” is to be undividedly present to the person of Jesus. Even when serving.

Connecting the Gospel …

... to the first reading: Abraham exhibited true hospitality. All of his efforts and busyness were directed toward the presence of his guests and their comfort and needs. This is what Martha in the gospel failed to do: keep persons at the heart of hospitality.

... to experience: How uncomfortable we feel when our presence takes second place in the attention of a host who is busy about the details of our being there! On the other hand, how welcome we feel when we are the host’s center of concern and attention.


**From Saint Louis University

Kristin Clauson