Jonah 3:1-10Ps 130:1b-4ab,7-8Luke 10:38-42www.usccb.org/bible/readings/101017.cfm
USCCB Podcast of the Readings:ccc.usccb.org/cccradio/NABPodcasts/17_10_10.mp3
A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Luke.
Jesus entered a village
where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him.
She had a sister named Mary
who sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak.
Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said,
“Lord, do you not care
that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving?
Tell her to help me.”
The Lord said to her in reply,
“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things.
There is need of only one thing.
Mary has chosen the better part
and it will not be taken from her.”
Good News Reflection:
In our Gospel reading today, Jesus gently reprimands Martha, not because he’s against hospitality (Martha’s gift), but because she has lost her perspective. She stopped looking at her Lord as she focused on the details of her activities.
Although an activity might be very good, if we forget the Lord we’re serving and we neglect to slow down for quiet time to build our relationship with him, we’re setting ourselves up for burn-out and wrong decisions and sin.
Hospitality is a gift we give to God. Working to support our families is also a gift for God. So is scrubbing floors, cooking scrumptious meals, and (I personally find this one hard to believe) ironing clothes. Serving in our parishes and towns, raising our children, reaching out to the poor, helping to prevent abortions, working against injustice, etc., are all Godly activities. BUT not when we get so busy that we don’t have time to sit quietly at the feet of Jesus.
Watching the news on TV without keeping our eyes on Jesus can cause anxiety and fear. Trudging through problems or unpleasant tasks or difficult relationships without quieting ourselves to become aware of the presence and guidance of Jesus causes frustration and upset and despair.
If we are upset about details, if we feel anxious, fearful, worried, or confused, then we’ve not been sitting at the feet of Jesus long enough. These negative emotions are warnings. They are also chinks in our armor, i.e., the Armor of God that we Christians have been given to wear (see Ephesians 6) — they are holes of vulnerability that the Enemy uses to pull us even farther away from the feet of Jesus.
No Christian has any valid reason to be in fear or anxiety. It’s an opportunity for healing through psychological and possibly medical therapy. Or else it’s a sin, because we’ve wandered away from Jesus and his wisdom and his renewing strength and his peace. Compounding the problem, we inflict our bad mood upon others and send it rippling out into the world.
The only way to “choose the better part” is to slow down and force ourselves to sit with Jesus and remain quietly in his presence, not moving from our prayer chair until we’ve become fortified and recharged by God.
Whenever a new opportunity to worry comes along, Jesus is waiting for you, arms open, hoping that you will stop long enough to be blessed by his love.
Lord: Pour onto me the healing of the root of my worries. May listening to You be my delight and the source of my peace. I want to be always alert to Your voice and let myself be filled with You in any place and at any time. Amen.
© 2017 by Terry A. Modica