Always a confusing reading from Luke, this passage seems to have us make a choice: serve or listen to Jesus. But we are to do both. Jesus commanded us to serve the poor, the sick, the imprisoned – all those in need of love and compassion. But to follow him in these ways, we must listen to him and hear his words. We must be Martha as well as Mary.
Perhaps Luke tells us that before we decide to serve in many important ways, we must first choose the better part – to listen and then be moved to act, to serve. In other words, Jesus is our best motivational speaker who uses parables to open our ears, lose our anxieties, and stop worrying.
He also tells us to serve but not to the extent that we forget ourselves and our families. When “burdened with much serving” too much obligation may cause us to stop listening to Jesus at his feet where he tells us to look within ourselves for peace and happiness. Trying to find that elsewhere simply through serving can be a distraction from taking care of things at home. A proper balance is required.
Deacon David Pierce