From the Hermitage
Remembering St. Martha in two ways today. There are two scriptural options. Chosen is the Lucan selection listed above. Being one who cooks frequently for myself or guests, this part of Martha's life has meaning for me.
Entertaining friends for a meal is always a challenge. Often a mystery is how some women especially can have a dinner prepare in rapid time without any concerns or worries. At the same time they are able to entertain their guests without any fuss. The meal is prepared, the guests arrive and the attention is focused not on the meal but the guests.
Seemingly Martha was not a cook of this style. From her remarks as well as her sister's, it seems that Martha lets the meal trump having a delightfully refreshing visit with friends.
In my own experiences, there is last minute moments when my thoughts go like this: Wouldn't it have been easier to go to a local restaurant? I could spend more time with the guests. What is the answer that all of the stressed dinner hosts should remember? Martha seems to be a teacher to this question. Her answer should be SIMPLICITY. Whether it is a person of station or neighbor or relative: just prepare a simple meal that does not drain either the budget or the stamina of the host.
Secondly, Martha must have thought she had to feed people who had not eaten months. Over the years I have come to realize that we always had large meals at home -- because we were at max 8 mouths to be fed. As we grow older, I suspect most of us cook not to size but to impression. Some of my best meals with friends have been what my mother would say is entirely too little on the table.
Which is more important? The dinner plate or the guest who has taken time to be with the host?
This story of Martha and my own experience can be applied to our relationship with Jesus. Do we/I seek to impress Jesus? Certainly if I were sensible, I would know that is impossible. When I pray, do I attempt to amass of large number of words or prayers? So many that even Jesus might have a hard time in understanding what we/I want or need. The challenge to us is to let Jesus be Jesus. Simply sit at a table with him, just as the two Emmaus disciples learned. Jesus will speak to us if we start our "table time" with him but asking one or two simple questions about him. Then sit back and enjoy the meal! He will share with you more than you could imagine.
Enough from the wanna be chef!
Oremus pro invicem!