Lectio Divina: 2022-07-15

Reflections on Luke 10 38-42


The word that jumped out at me this morning is “distracted” . There are days when I have so many things that I have to do that I easily become distracted from the most important time of my day – to sit at the feet of Jesus in prayer. So busy “doing” rather that just “being”
There are times for contemplation and times for action. Times to be Martha and times to be Mary.

This passage is a reminder for me to put God and prayer first and not be distracted by all the other things that are demanding my attention.


“Martha, Martha! You are worried and troubled over so many things.”

I think that probably like most of us, I am sometimes Martha and sometimes Mary but I am definitely more Martha than I would like to be. I tell Jesus that I trust Him and ask Him to help me to trust Him more but I worry and fret over everything. The two together are not possible. There are things in life than need to be done and need to be concerned about so I am not beating myself up about that but I really do need more time to be Mary and to leave behind certain issues to give me space to be with Jesus. A work in progress.


As Jesus was raised by his Abba , we too will be raised. This is our faith.
I believe Lord, help my unbelief.


Martha welcomes Jesus into her home .

Then the old patterns, roles, family dynamics take over…

This is a gentle reminder to me to realise I am more than a role and with the grace of God I can let go of my over-used patterns.

It’s time just to sit and enjoy my Beloved guest…

Maybe he will ask me to dance or play football – like my great grandchildren do. Little Bella’s idea of football is to throw the ball into the flower bed and me find it, we fall about laughing together, over and over again.

This is fun.


This Gospel is always a puzzle and always a surprise to me. I always saw myself reflected in Martha, rather than in Mary.

Thus, worried, fretting, described many times myself; distracted… not so much.

Is this then really for me the eternal disjunctive in between contemplation and action?

Recently I finished a Laudato Si Course in Contemplation, searching for balance in my life, and I felt great at the Lords’ feet, listening.

What is really what the Lord wants of me? Certainly not me worrying, not fretting. Nevertheless, I think if I am here right now, is because He wants me here, being His hands and feet, showing His love through me.

At the end, St Teresa of Avila expressed it very eloquently, ‘We are all Marthas and Marys; if Mary sat down to listen is because she had already finished her chores’.

Though for me, it is fundamental to start by listening; if I want to achieve anything I need the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

It cost me a lot not surrendering my will to the ‘do it my way’, but now I put each of my days in the Lord’s hands, and I really can see His merciful hands acting in all my days.

Many thanks dear God for all your love and mercy, every day.

May the Lord bless you all by being both Marthas and Marys.


Here I am in Devon, visiting with friends I haven’t seen for more than 20 years. I am out of my routine, and I wake with a million things on my mind, none of which are my quiet time with God. As I sit here reflecting on this passage I realise how much I need time alone so I can just Be with God. Mary knew that too. She needed to be fully present to love and refused to be distracted by the busyness of life.

If I am to be all that God wants me to me I must put first things first. Spending time in prayer and meditation nourishes my soul and helps me to live in His will.


Martha is so often presented as the practical hard-working one, and Mary with her head in the clouds.

Why did Martha not simply ask Mary for help, but rather appealed to Jesus’ authority to tell her?

Perhaps the hidden implied sub-text is that Mary sat at Jesus’ feet, learning.

Scandalous – a woman pretending to be a disciple – that was a man’s prerogative! In those days I hasten to add!

But Martha was criticised not for her meticulous housekeeping nor for her hospitality, house and food, but rather because she was distracted by these things from the main opportunity of the day – to listen to Jesus.

If we had that opportunity today would the housekeeping not wait until tomorrow?

Various translations – Martha was distracted/worried/anxious/disturbed. In fact the Greek even implies that her mental state was pandemonium.

I can almost hear a modern-day Jesus putting it something like this: “Martha, my dear friend, your hospitality is second to none, but a sandwich would have been just fine – did we really need these 8 kinds of vol-au-vents?”

Mary stands out as an early female disciple, a role suppressed by the early church, to the extent that her depiction in art became smaller and smaller over the first three centuries or so.

I rely on the Marthas of this world for much of my physical sustenance, and on the Marys for spiritual sustenance.

What Martha did was necessary, but what Mary did was essential.

We need them both.