When Jesus came to Bethany, both Martha and her sister Mary welcomed him into their home. The way in which the sisters showed hospitality to Jesus revealed their hearts toward him. Both the sisters loved Jesus, and they wanted to make him feel at home and comfortable. Martha was active in doing the serving; while Mary was sitting under his feet and actively listening to him. Each sister had shown her own personality; this implies that parents give birth to our physical body, but they have no control of personality of their children.
Both the sisters showed that Jesus' visit was greatly appreciated. Both kinds of work, serving and listening, require skills to do it well. And both kinds of work are parts of our daily living. These activities sometimes cause stress and pressure to us, due to time constraint or high expectations. Stress and pressure happen when things are out of control, and that was what Martha had experienced. She wanted to do the best for Jesus but things didn't go as well as she had planted. She came to Jesus asking for support, saying,
'Lord, do you not care that my sister is leaving me to do the serving all by myself? Please tell her to help me'. But the Lord answered: 'Martha, Martha, he said 'you worry and fret about so many things, and yet few are needed, indeed only one. It is Mary who has chosen the better part; it is not to be taken from her'. Lk 10,41-42.
There is nothing wrong with asking for God's help. It actually is a noble thing to do. Our thanksgiving prayer includes giving thanks, loving and trusting God for God's love and care. Prayer is the way in which we express our faith and trust in God. St James (2,17) said that faith is invisible but actions of faith make faith visible to the world. By doing something good for others in the name of Jesus, we make God's love visible to others.
Martha's problem was not about asking for help from Jesus, but rather was about taking on herself much more than she could handle, and that caused her anxiety and stress. Her request for help from Jesus implies her closeness to Jesus. She was certain that Jesus had no trouble solving the situation. In responding to her request, Jesus told her that not all works were equal in value- Do not focus on its quantity, but rather on its quality. It is better choosing work that has everlasting value, and no human can take it away from.
Modern society often measures our achievement by how well we satisfy others' expectations. When we try to satisfy them we lose the quality of life, because we live for them more than for ourselves. Expectations are often endless. We know that worrying causes more harm than good, and yet we can't stop worrying. It is worth to worry about the important things, not trivial ones. Martha worried about many things and overlooked what Jesus had to offer. He came not simply for a meal, but to offer the sisters something which was vitally important. He offered spiritual nourishment for their souls: inner peace and the purpose of their lives. Jesus said Mary had chosen the important thing. She chose Jesus, the author of life. She chose the hospitality of God. She believed what Jesus had to offer would worth much more than what her sister could offer him. We pray for the wisdom: by choosing God, we lack nothing.