“May I have a word with you?” That question means many different things. Maybe someone wants to tell us something. Or, maybe someone wants to confront us.
When he enters Martha’s house, Jesus wants a word with Martha and her sister Mary. Maybe he is telling them about his trip to Jerusalem where he will undergo his passion. Maybe he desires to tell them about his hopes and dreams or even his fears. Or, maybe he wants to share a word of friendship. Mary sits and listens. Martha does what she does best: she serves the meal.
Similarly, we read in the dialogues of St. Gregory the Great that St. Benedict makes his annual visit to see his sister St. Scholastica. She wants a word with him, a word that will stretch well into the night. When Benedict refuses, Scholastica prays and a storm prevents her brother from leaving.
We too think that serving and following rules are very important. But when Jesus wants a word with us, we need to choose the admirable thing: stop, sit down and listen.