What is true hospitality? Cooking, cleaning, and serving are important, but most important is listening: making a guest feel heard.
Today is the feast of St. Martha, who labored while her sister listened to Christ. How often we relate to Martha! And yet Christ guides Martha, summoning her to choose “the better part,” as Mary did.
It is his countercultural invitation to a woman, inviting her to come out of the kitchen. It remains countercultural as an invitation to us all: to take a meaningful break from the “busyness” our society extols. It is a message of love; a call to fast from feeding the frantic pace of this world to feed the soul instead.
In Jn 11:21-22, after the death of Lazarus, his sister Martha shows that she has grown in faith since her days of choosing housework over the true hospitality of listening to Jesus. She says if Jesus had been there her brother would not have died and goes on to profess her faith in Christ.
This makes Martha a model for us all. We too can grow.