Are you active or contemplative?

Fr Antonio Pineda
Assistant Parish Priest

Our Gospel this Sunday is about two sisters: Martha the active and Mary the contemplative. Martha is all action, forever moving around trying to be the perfect host to Jesus, while Mary prefers to listen to Him and to ponder His words instead.

Is Martha the industrious one while Mary is the idle one? Or is Martha simply carrying out what’s expected from her as a woman (serving, carrying, fetching) while Mary is more prepared to go against the tide by doing something many would see as unproductive (listening to Jesus)?

We all have a little bit of both Martha and Mary in us, though all of us tend to lean towards one or the other. Some of us like sports and travelling, while others prefer to read or go out for relaxing walks.

Both have merits. Both are good, but let’s remember the adage that says too much of a good thing is a bad thing. If a father is so busy with his business with no time to reflect, he is likely to forget who he is working hard for (i.e, his family). Likewise, if all we do is think or pray and don’t follow these up with actions, then we fail as Christians.

The devil does indeed make work for idle hands, but similarly the devil makes the overly busy forget the most important things in life.

(Image by Simon Dewey)