The One Thing Needed 5

The Gospel for this upcoming Sunday (Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time) is short and simple, yet packs an important lesson for all of us — Marys and Marthas — in today’s over-active, result-oriented culture. This week I want to share some reflections on this passage (Luke 10:38:42), taken  from a project I am working on. I hope it will help you foster a deeper friendship with Christ — truly, the one thing needed

If Jesus Christ truly is the one Lord of life and history, the one Savior, the one Way, Truth, and Life (which he is), then it is certain that “only one” thing is needed for a fulfilling, meaningful, and fruitful life: to stay as close to him as possible at all times.

  • Much more important than what we can do for Christ is what we can be for him, and what he can be for us.
  • Martha was doing all kinds of tasks, and that was good.
  • But Mary was listening to him, letting him serve her, being his close, intimate friend, and that was even better, “the better part”.

Friendship with Christ is the one thing needed.

Therefore, our task here on earth is to make a conscious choice to shape our lives accordingly, to keep Christ first, to livefrom his love and for his love.

  • Jesus doesn’t congratulate Mary because she won the spiritual lottery or had received a particularly beautiful soulfrom God.
  • He praises her because she has “chosen the better part.”
  • She chooses it.
  • She chooses to submit to the Lord, to let him be for her what he in truth already is for everyone – the one needed thing.

Martha, on the other hand, has a divided heart.

  • She loves Christ, but she still depends on her own strength to earn his love in return.
  • She hasn’t learned that what matters is not so much what we can do for Christ as what he has done and wants to dofor us.

Jesus kindly teaches her in this encounter that the greatest thing she can do for him, the “one needed thing”, is to let himrule completely over her heart, to take her place at his feet and listen to his words.


  1. Pingback: The One Thing Needed - CATHOLIC FEAST - Every day is a Celebration

  2. Good post. It reminded me of a comment a friend made one time. It was about 15 years ago, our children in middle school and our motherly role changing to taxi, organizer, etc. We met with teachers and coaches, did the shopping, kept the kids well-cared for in every way. We had lunch together, to kvetch a bit about all of this, and she observed that she was “spending so much time doing things FOR her children, that she had no time to do things WITH them.”
    How true it was for both of us, and I think that is an echo of the Mary & Martha story as well.

  3. Pingback: Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time « Prepare for Mass

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s