The Unexpected Lessons from Martha

Mary Schaad // Genius of the Call


August 11  

As a Catholic mom, I love the story of Mary and Martha. One of the things I most enjoy about this story is imagining all the details. I think many of us forget that the disciples would have also been witnesses to this event, so Martha was not only preparing a meal for Jesus and her sister, but for the disciples and probably Lazarus as well.

I picture Martha hurriedly trying to get everything ready (and doing it up as fancy as she could). She was serving the Lord after all, and all the while glancing at Mary, trying to get her attention to convey the message that she could use some help! I can imagine that for a while she uses that passive aggressiveness that I am all too familiar with myself . . . maybe she starts banging pots and pans to get Mary’s attention. I do not know about you, but few things make me more frustrated than when I am trying to get someone to take notice, and they do not pay attention. No wonder poor Martha blew up. I am sure many of us mothers can relate to the feeling of the anxiety that Martha was feeling in that moment. 

At first glance, we might elevate Mary as the good guy and Martha as the one who did something wrong. If we reflect on both sisters, we see that there is not only good to be gleaned from Mary’s part of the story. Of course, Martha’s side of the story reminds us that we must slow down. But there is more here to be learned from Martha.  

Martha spoke with frankness to our Lord. She did not try to beat around the bush or water down what she wanted to say; she just said exactly what she was feeling to him, and he answered with the same type of bluntness. There is a lesson here to be learned about prayer, and that we can come to our Lord with extreme honesty, and he takes us as we are. He may correct us, but most importantly, he receives and loves us. Martha does this again at the tomb of Lazarus when Jesus asks her if she believes who he is. Martha may take some heat in the mom-world for her busyness, but we all have so much to learn from her bold faith and closeness with Jesus.


Proclaim the Genius & Share!
    • From a fellow Martha, sat at St. Martha’s table for my Cursillo, I love your take on her. I never realized indeed how bold she was, and a good reminder for us all.

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