Loving Him 10

Rembrandt, Martha and Mary at the Feet of Jesus

Rembrandt, Martha and Mary at the Feet of Jesus

Continuing our reflections on Mary and Martha…

Let’s try to see this scene from Christ’s perspective.

  • Obviously, he loved both Martha and Mary.
  • They knew him well enough to invite him to dinner.
  • Martha was so comfortable with him that she didn’t think twice about involving him in her family squabble.
  • The atmosphere is casual, friendly – almost like a barbecue.
  • Martha is doing all the work, and Mary is just sitting at Christ’s feet listening to him converse with the Apostles.

It’s understandable that Martha would get perturbed.

  • Feeding 15 people is no small task, and she could have used her sister’s help.
  • So she tries to get Jesus to tell Mary to lend a hand.
  • But Jesus doesn’t. He actually commends Mary and reproves Martha.


Seeing the scene from Christ's perspective

Seeing the scene from Christ’s perspective

Christ was glad to be served, but he was even gladder to be loved.

  • He yearns for our love.
  • At the last judgment, he will be less interested in our résumé of achievements (Martha probably had a great résumé) than in the love with which we achieved them.
  • He was happy that Mary wanted to listen to him, wanted to sit beside him and spend time with him.

Martha, on the other hand, seems to be paying attention to Christ by serving him, but in fact she was thinking more ofherself than of him.

  • This is why she was upset.
  • If she had been trying to please Christ, she would have been glad to do the extra work while her sister enjoyed Christ’s conversation.
  • But Martha has become so preoccupied with getting everything done just right that she has forgotten why it’s worth doing in the first place.
  • So when she complains, Jesus seizes the opportunity to remind her that wanting to be in control of everything can sometimes get in the way of what matters most: loving him.


  1. I can understand Martha being a bit miffed that her sister wasn’t helping when she could have used the help. From her perception she thought Mary was free and could assist her but that wasn’t the case because Mary was with her son loving Jesus being with Him. It seems like Martha was a bit envious or jealous of her sister. In all reality Mary loving her son is at least as important – probably more important – than her helping Martha. God Bless.

    • It definitely seems paradoxical. I suppose the lesson for Martha in this case is focus. More importantly, focusing on the only thing needed, Christ.

      Thanks, Teresa, and God bless!

  2. I waffle between the both of them. Usually, more like Mary. Sometimes like Martha. In any event: grouchy. I hear tell there are no grouches, in heaven. I hope God catches me, on a good day. Always sick. And grouchy. Working on it, with His graces.

  3. Pingback: Loving Him - CATHOLIC FEAST - Every day is a Celebration

  4. I like your statement that she was thinking more about herself than him. That is a good one to keep in mind. Sometimes in life we can be so bogged down, and someone else comes along who appears to have the better portion, and it can be tempting to lament. But then we have to remember that it just our job to please God, and not ourselves. I really like how you put that, it was very well said.

    • Speaking of being bogged down, I’m a bit behind following up on the blog — Who to imitate, Mary or Martha? Why not both?

      Thanks for your comment and your feedback!

      • No worries. I get the same way too (except mine turns into, oh, say…months. 🙂 ) Hope things are not too hectic, and yes, it is probably good to imitate both. Even contemplatives have to be Martha at times. God bless you!

Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com 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