Serve and Be Hospitable

11-MarthaAndMaryWhen living alone, it is challenging to have guests for dinner! On the one hand, you are busy getting the drinks and hors d’oeuvres, finishing up the dinner. At the same time, you want to be with your guests. So, how can you serve and be hospitable at the same time? This is a tricky, balancing act! Yet, every good hosts knows that the guests are far more important than anything else!
Our Gospel today demonstrates many expressions of hospitality: welcoming, listening, serving. No One way is complete in itself. There is no one way to be hospitable. Hospitality at its deepest meaning makes possible a personal encounter of the kind Mary experiences with Jesus. Martha, rather than being truly hospitable, is anxious about accomplishing a task. Her welcome shifts away from Jesus to herself. Being busy, she misses the better part- centering on Jesus! The better part is to be undividedly present to Jesus- even when serving.
How can we keep Jesus at the center of our lives when we are always busy? One way is to see Jesus in every person we meet. Another way is to ask: why are we doing things-to accomplish a task or to build a stronger relationship with others?
In the busy-ness of our lives, let us take the time to be present to others so that we truly encounter them. Our discipleship calls us to become present and to take the other into our heart. The encounter with Jesus is essential to hospitality.