Choosing the Better Part

Luke 10: 38-42
Jon 3: 1-10 / Psa 130

Mary has chosen the better part, and it will not be taken away from her.
(Luke 10:42)

Transform our lives, our faith renew,
Lord, make us ‘choose the better part’;
Grant us the grace in serving You
With Martha’s hands and Mary’s heart.

As Jesus and His disciples were on their way, He came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to Him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what He said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to Him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen the better part, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10: 38-42)


“You are worried and upset about many things. . .” Martha had started to complain to Jesus, so He pointed out the futility of her anxieties, praising the decision of Mary instead. We can be so distracted and stressed by mundane matters that we fail to appreciate the more vital aspects of our existence. We forget that God is always aware of our little troubles, but He wants us to seek the “better part”, to listen to the more important lessons that He wants to impart to all His children. The world can wait, but the Word of God cannot.

In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus said, “Do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’ or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear?’ Only the pagans worry about these things. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom (of God) and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you besides” (Mt.6:31-33). In our obsessively driven culture of working hard to succeed in our businesses or professions, or simply to put food on the table, all too often we forget that “One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.” (Mat.4:4) The “better part” is simply the Word of God. If Martha’s main concern was to provide nourishment for Jesus and His apostles, her sister Mary’s sole concern was to be nourished by Jesus’ teaching, which was more important than anything else in the world.

“Only one thing is needed.” In the context of our life’s true purpose, no other words could have been spoken more truthfully. All the leaders of our organization realized this after taking our National Leaders’ Retreat (NLR) at the Carmelite Center in Tagaytay, Cavite this weekend. It seemed as if ‘our batteries were recharged’ as we set aside time for meditation in the company of Christ’s disciples, “sitting at the feet of Jesus”, allowing His words in Scriptures to invigorate our souls. It was a very enriching experience, listening to the video cd of Rick Warren, famous author of “The Purpose Driven Life”, as our spiritual director efficiently guided us in appreciating the power of God’s Word in the Bible. Here we learned from Mr. Warren that Scriptures are not only meant to inform us, but more importantly, like Mary, to transform our lives. “Listening” to the lessons in the Bible is serious business, and it may take a lifetime to complete God’s work in our transformation. We need to set aside a special time every day for meditating on the Word of God. The most important part of the retreat was learning to apply the lessons of God’s Word in our daily life, because as our Lord Jesus said, “Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a man who built his house on rock” (Mt.7:24). Be of good cheer! His Word is our foundation!

Lord, may we be like Martha, serving You faithfully through others in need; but may we be more like Mary, meditating on Your Word to grow spiritually, and closer to You. Amen.

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