True Hospitality

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.

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Small Faces - Song Of A Baker

( lyrics )

Christ in the House of Martha and Mary - Diego Velázquez
Christ in the House of Martha and Mary – Diego Velázquez


Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.” (Luke 10: 40-42).

Since Christ himself was visiting my house,
I wanted to prepare my greatest dish.
I labored near the stove and tried to douse
The lamb with wine, instead, I drowned the fish.
He might have let me know when he’d drop by,
I whispered as I swept the kitchen clean,
And I let out a pitiable sigh.
Where was my sister Mary in this scene?
I searched, and found her sitting at Christ’s feet,
Delighted by each story that he’d start.
I asked if she would help me serve the meat,
But Jesus said she’d picked the better part.
And so I joined my sister at his side,
And Jesus took the burned meal quite in stride.

—Annabelle Moseley