« Back



There have been times when I made a choice and I knew deep within it was the only choice to be made. It was absolutely the right choice. If I could do it all again I would make the same choice and do so with thanksgiving and gratitude. There have also been times when I made what I thought was the right choice but can now see there was a better choice to have been made. I would do things differently if I had the chance to choose again. I suspect most of us could say the same thing.


Too often we equate the choice we make, and its subsequent approval or rejection, with our goodness, our worthiness, our acceptableness, our faithfulness, our lability to love. That is what most of history has done with Mary and Martha. Mary made the better choice, Jesus says, and we quickly conclude that we should be like Mary, not Martha. We are to sit and listen rather than be active and busy. Mary is equated with the contemplative life and Martha with the active life and much of Christian history has seen the contemplative life as the more perfect life. That is one reading of this text but is it the only reading, the definitive reading? Is Mary necessarily better, more holy, more loved, more acceptable to Jesus?


I do not think this text is really even about Mary and Martha but about us and the choices we make. That does not mean we are to copycat Mary. If Jesus wanted us to do that why did he not he tell us clearly what that “one thing” is? He could have at least given us the five easy steps to choosing the better part, but he did not.


Jesus is saying that choices matter. We are always making choices. I wonder how many choices we make each day?  Sometimes we choose unconsciously, sometimes quickly and easily, other times with great deliberation and struggle. Some choices are insignificant. They are forgotten the next day. Other choices have great meaning and significance and the consequences are long lasting. Our choices can shape who we are. They can establish in us patterns and habits of how we see and act, the words we speak, and the ways we relate to each other. Our choices can set a trajectory for our life. Our choices make a difference.

« Back