Commentary on The Reading of the day provided by :
Saint Ambrose (c.340-397),
Bishop of Milan and Doctor of the Church
Treatise on the Gospel according to Saint Luke, 7, 85-86
Martha and Mary in the one body of Christ
The parable of the Good Samaritan is about mercy. But there is not just one way to be virtuous.
The parable is followed by the example of Martha and of Mary.
We see there that one is devoted in her activity, the other is religiously attentive to the word of God.
According to what is written, if that attentiveness is in conformity with faith, it is even preferable to works: “Mary has chosen the better portion and she shall not be deprived of it.”
So let us also strive to possess what no one can take away from us.
Let us listen in a way that is not distracted but attentive… Let us be like Mary who is animated by the desire for wisdom.
That is a greater and more perfect work than the others… So don’t criticize, don’t judge as idle those whom you see desiring this wisdom…
However, Martha is not criticized for her good services, even if Mary has chosen the better part. For Jesus has many riches and gives many generous gifts… The apostles also did not think that it was best to leave the word of God in order to serve at table (Acts 6:2).
But both things are works of wisdom. Stephen, who was full of wisdom, was chosen for his part to be a servant.
Thus, may the person who serves obey the one who teaches, and may the person who teaches encourage the one who serves.
The body of the Church is one, even if the members are diverse; the one needs the other.
“The eye cannot say to the hand: I do not need you; nor can the head say that to the feet.” (1 Cor 12:14f.)
The ear cannot say that it does not belong to the body.
There are organs that are more important; but the others are nevertheless necessary.