"There is need of only one thing."
Today's first reading (Genesis 18:1-10; Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C) is about providing hospitality. So is the Gospel (Luke 10:38-42), but from a radically different perspective. The well-known story of Martha and Mary demonstrates that before we can provide hospitality to others, we must first receive what is provided by God alone. We must first benefit from the hospitality and wisdom of Christ--in our time, through Scripture, Sacrament, and prayer.
Yes, there is a time to act, to provide hospitality, to do good works, but how can we possibly know what these should consist of, in what manner they should be done, or to what extent? What is God's will? This should always be our primary concern and motivation. This is the "one thing necessary" of which Jesus speaks. Mary, he says, "has chosen the better part" by sitting at the Lord's feet and listening to what he has to say.
How often do we truly find ourselves in the posture of Mary--attentive to what God is saying to us in Scripture, Sacrament, and prayer? Honestly? Are we truly receptive to what God alone offers to provide us--which is his very self?
Or, like Martha, are we burdened with the many activities and works we have taken upon ourselves, resentful of carrying such a load, and ultimately telling Jesus what to do?!
If we, like Martha, are "anxious and worried about many things," could it be that we have forgotten the "one thing necessary"? Have we neglected to choose the "better part" -- first and foremost, sitting at the feet of the Lord in prayer and listening to him?
Have we taken the time, before busying about ourselves, to first receive what the Lord has to offer--indeed, what he alone can provide?