In every Feast of the Theotokos, we hear the same Gospel lesson. We hear the story of Martha and Mary, two sisters who hosted Jesus Christ in their home for dinner. When Jesus arrived, Mary ran to meet him while her sister Martha remained working in the kitchen. While Mary sat at the feet of Christ listening to His every word, Martha grew more frustrated that she had been left to work alone in the kitchen.
She complained, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” (Luke 10.40) Rather than telling Mary to go to the kitchen and help her sister, He scolded her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. One thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10.41-42)
It is so easy in our 24-hour society to get wrapped up in staying busy. We are trained by our society that our value is determined by how busy we remain. We wake, we work, we sleep, only to wake up again and work some more. Sometimes we even forget to eat or sleep so we can work some more. It should come as no surprise that God commanded us to rest on a regular basis. Our bodies need a break, and we shouldn’t wait until it is too late.
In the Old Testament, God commanded that His people should keep the Sabbath day holy. In the Old Testament, work was forbidden on Saturday, and for much of our modern lives, work was frowned upon on Sundays. The commandment for rest wasn’t so that we could go fishing, but so that we could come to Church as a family and worship and receive Holy Communion. Ever since the first days of Christianity, the Church has gathered each Sunday for Divine Liturgy following the teaching in today’s Gospel lesson.
It is easy for us, maybe even easier than it was for Martha, to be worried and anxious about many things. One thing is still needed, maybe more today than it was then. The time has come for us to take the time to greet Christ and sit and listen to Him in His Church, not just when we have nothing else better to do. The Holy Apostles commanded that we should gather in the Church EVERY Sunday at the very least.
In order to help you find time, like Mary to sit with Christ, following the ancient tradition of the Church, our Cathedral is open for prayer every day, and services take place every day for us to gather as a Christian family for worship. It is the good part, and it will not be taken away from you.