The Gospel according to Luke (10:38-42)
As they continued their journey he 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.”
Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, I desire to choose the better part. Enlighten me as to the ways I choose other things over you, and give me the strength to center my heart on you.
Encountering Christ: They say that women are better multitaskers than men. Do you ever wonder who “they” are? All kidding aside, I find this to be true, however, there are those who say multitasking is not possible since you can only focus your immediate attention on one task. Are “those” the same people as “they” and are they trying to confuse us? This does however beg the question if we try to do to much at the same time or if we are too easily distracted or disoriented.
In today’s gospel Martha is probably feeling overwhelmed and wants some help attending to her guests. She, like most of us, wants the best for the friends she has invited into her home. She is probably doing many things (multitasking) or at least trying and is more focused on everyone’s temporal needs rather than on the rich and bountiful feast that is before them in the words and presence of Jesus.
Let us consider two things. First, Jesus is not scolding or admonishing Martha. He is simply calling her attention to what he is offering everyone including her. He also is not diminishing her concern for her guests. Her efforts are noble and filled with good intentions. Martha wants her friends to feel the Shalom of her home. I am sure Jesus and the others appreciate her care. But if given the choice between the concerns of the immediate versus being in the presence of the grace of God it appears obvious that Mary has made the better choice.
Second, how often are we caught up with the everyday tasks that keep us so occupied we fail or neglect to be in the presence of God’s grace. Do we set apart time in our day to spend time at the foot of Jesus? Do we take time throughout the day to stop, pause, and listen to Jesus as He speaks to us? If we keep telling ourselves we are too busy or that we will get around to it then we are only fooling ourselves. This is not to say that we spend our entire day engaged in frivolous activities. Many of the things we do are necessary and good. But, again, how much of my day is dedicated, set apart for some quality time with Jesus?
This is not guilt trip or some attempt to serve up a good old-fashioned portion of Catholic guilt. It is listening to the voice of Jesus in today’s gospel and imaging that instead of say Martha, Martha, he is saying our name. Jesus is always present and willing to give us his time, his grace. Are we too busy or too distracted to realize we too could be sitting at his feet? There He can give us the grace we need so we can go about our day tackling and accomplishing all of the task with a heart full of gratitude. Although this may not change what we do it will change how we do it and how we prioritize our day.
May we keep our focus on Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ so He can direct our day, our minds, our spirits, our souls.
Closing Prayer: Dear lord you know how easily we are distracted and how much we struggle not to be overwhelmed by what “needs” to be done. We are grateful for your patience and want to be in your presence often enough throughout the day so that we may be transformed by your grace.
Action for the Day: Take some time in your day and enjoy being at the feet of Jesus. Pay attention and let the chores of the day wait. They will get done and if they don’t you have made the better choice. Amen!