16th Sunday in Ordinary time
In a book by Fr. Tom Green, S.J. titled "Darkness in the Marketplace", he cited the difference between "working for God" and "doing God's work." He gave the example of someone who would like to give another a present.
"What do you want for your birthday? Tell me, a new shirt, a car, a trip abroad. I can give you whatever you want." Then the celebrant said, "I want blue cheese for my birthday."
"I would not want to give something repugnant. I want you give you something else, something more valuable."
"Yes, you want to give me something valuable, but I still want blue cheese," was the reply.
If you're the one giving, which one would you choose, to give what you want or what he wants?
There are two types of those who serve God: those who "work for God" and those who "do God's work". The first type serve the Lord according to their own terms and availability. The service may be noble or grand, but it may not be what the Lord wants. For he wants "blue cheese." Sooner or later, we may opt to shift from "working for God" to "doing God's work."
Martha represents those who "work for God" and Mary, for those who "do God's work." Jesus said that Mary has chosen the better part and it shall not be deprived of her. It doesn't mean that the Lord rejected Martha and her work in the kitchen. But her work should be complimented with the total attention Mary gave to our Lord.
Martha also represents the millions of lay people who have the best intentions to serve the Lord but are overwhelmed with the concerns of daily life. Reflecting on lay spirituality should give people working in the world valuable insights on how "to do God's work" while working in the "marketplace" of life. All it takes is to go back to the most basic reality - to put God at the center of everything and to revolve all other concerns around Him. To do God's will is the best thing that we can ever do in our lifetime.