February 10th, 2023

The Holy Gospel According to Luke (10:38-42)

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.”

Reflection:  Today is the Memorial of St. Scholastica, Virgin.  The Gospel is from the readings of the Memorial and not the readings of the day.  First, a little background on St. Scholastica.  We are probably more familiar with her brother, St. Benedict, who founded the Order of St. Benedict, or the Benedictines.  St. Scholastica consecrated her life to God at an early age and she established a hermitage about five miles from St. Benedict’s monastery at Monte Cassino.  This was the first convent of Benedictine nuns.  The most commonly told story about her is that Scholastica would, once a year, go and visit her brother at a place near his abbey, and they would spend the day worshiping together and discussing sacred texts and issues.  The hallmarks of Benedictine life are prayer and work, “ora et labora” in Latin.  St. Scholastica led a life of work and prayer.  This Gospel is about work and prayer, or the active and contemplative components of our prayer life.  Martha represents the work or active part of our prayer life.  Mary represents the prayer or contemplative part.  Reflecting on this Gospel, we are called to seek a balance between these two parts in our prayer life.  Both listening and doing, praying, and receiving God’s Word and serving others, are vital to the Christian life, just as inhaling and exhaling are to breathing. It is true that much of our busyness and distraction stems from the noblest of intentions. We want to provide for our families, we want to serve our neighbors, and yes, we want to serve the Church and the Lord. Indeed, where would the church be without its “Martha’s,” those faithful people who perform the tasks of hospitality and service so vital to making the church a welcoming and well-functioning community?  And yet if all our activities leave us with no time to be still in the Lord’s presence and hear God’s Word, we are likely to end up anxious and troubled. We are likely to end up with a kind of service that is devoid of love and joy.  How often do we forget to breathe in deeply?  How often are we distracted and worried about many things?  Trying to serve without being nourished by God’s word and prayer is like expecting good fruit to grow from a tree that has been uprooted.  At different times in our lives, we may go through dry spells when it comes to prayer.  Work through these dry times knowing that God is always present.    

Action for the day:  Before we begin the busyness of our day, may we take some time to be still, to pray and reflect on the Word of God.  Then we can go about our day, balanced between work and prayer.  

Audio Reflection:

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One thought on “February 10th, 2023

  1. Thank you, Deacon Mike. I truly appreciate this reflection because you remind us of the balance we need in our lives.

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