Memorial of St. Martha
(Exodus 34:29-35; Luke 10:36-42)
Two weeks ago the president of Bolivia Evo Morales criticized Catholic bishops for, in his words, using prayer to anesthetize people. Referring to the archbishop of Honduras, who has taken a position against the return of the deposed president of that country, Mr. Morales went on to accuse bishops for employing law, prayer, and even guns to dominate their peoples. It was a statement at best misleading after all that the bishops of Latin America have done to promote an informed and active Church. But Morales´ remark finds a bit of an echo in the posture of Martha in the gospel today.
Martha evidently believes that the presence of the Lord necessitates action. She even chides Jesus for not telling her sister Mary to assist with the chores of entertainment. But Jesus, a champion of women, recognizes Mary´s right to sit at his side to learn and to pray. There is a lesson here for those of us who want to do as much as we can for others. Although it is true that many times people fail to act as generously or as humbly as they should, still sometimes our action needs to give way to prayer and study so that true and enduring good may come about.