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The Everyday Prayer

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Icon of the Holy Face
Church of Sant'Egidio, Rome

Memorial of Martha. She welcomed the Lord Jesus into her home.

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

This is the Gospel of the poor,
liberation for the imprisoned,
sight for the blind,
freedom for the oppressed.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Luke 10,38-42

In the course of their journey he came to a village, and a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. She had a sister called Mary, who sat down at the Lord's feet and listened to him speaking. Now Martha, who was distracted with all the serving, came to him and said, '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, and it is not to be taken from her.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Son of Man came to serve,
whoever wants to be great
should become servant of all.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Today the Church remembers Martha, the sister of Mary and Lazarus. By remembering her we understand the power of the Gospel, which leads people to change their hearts and lives. In fact, after having welcomed Jesus into her house, Martha lets herself be "consumed by her service", by the things that she considered truly important. This "service," this conviction of hers, makes her so stressed that she is not even aware of the Teacher’s presence. Martha’s concentration on her convictions not only keeps her far from listening to Jesus, but actually drove her to rebuke him because he did not care about what she was doing. In short, she wanted her guest to pay attention to her and not vice-versa, revealing that the true centre of her concern was herself and not Jesus. In the end she has the attitude of a servant, vindictive like those who do not think what they do is appreciated; in the end she is banally self-referential, and she does not want Mary, unlike her, to be a friend. She probably thinks it is wrong to do nothing for the guest and the Jesus is like the men of this world, who assert themselves and want to be served. In reality she was getting too agitated, even if her intention was to be welcoming to her guest. In truth, she was missing out on the essential thing. Whenever we focus on ourselves and our affairs, we flee from listening to the Lord (how often does our doing keep us from even finding time to listen to or read the Word of God!) and we no longer understand the meaning of our doing and of our living. In the end, we lose sight of our priorities: everything is important and so nothing is. The best part is the part that no one can take away: a bond with Jesus. Unlike Martha, Mary has understood what counts the most in life, and she sat before the Teacher attentively and listened to his words. Our entire life, our thoughts and our works, should flow from listening to the Gospel. Martha eventually learned the lesson Jesus had taught her, and later when she welcomed him into her house, she opened her heart to him. When Jesus came to visit the tomb of Lazarus, who had just died, she was the first to notice the Teacher and run to him. She had learned to run towards the Teacher who loved her, her sister, and Lazarus like no one else. Today, he asks us too to not let ourselves be wrapped up in our cares, but to go outside and run towards the Teacher who can save us from death.

Memory of Jesus crucified