Dear brothers and sisters,
If Jesus Christ truly is the one Lord of life and history, the one Savior, the one Way, Truth, and Life (which he is), then it is certain that “only one” thing is needed for a fulfilling, meaningful, and fruitful life: to stay as close to him as possible at all times. Much more important than what we can do for Christ is what we can be for him, and what he can be for us. Martha was doing all kinds of tasks, and that was good; but Mary was listening to him, letting him serve her, being his close, intimate friend, and that was even better, “the better part.” Friendship with Christ is the one thing needed. Therefore, our task here on earth is to make a conscious choice to shape our lives accordingly, to keep Christ first, to live from his love and for his love. Jesus doesn’t congratulate Mary because she won the spiritual lottery or had received a particularly beautiful soul from God. He praises her because she has “chosen the better part.” She chooses it. She chooses to submit to the Lord, to let him be for her what he in truth already is for everyone – the one needed thing. Martha, on the other hand, has a divided heart. She loves Christ, but she still depends on her own strength to earn his love in return. She hasn’t learned that what matters is not so much what we can do for Christ as what he has done and wants to do for us. Jesus kindly teaches her in this encounter that the greatest thing she can do for him, the “one needed thing,” is to let him rule completely over her heart, to take her place at his feet and listen to his words.