Daily Reflection – 10/08/19
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.”(Luke 10:38-42)
Once again, a passage from the Gospel reminds us of an amazing truth about Christ’s Kingship: he offers the benefits of his love to all people, but he leaves each person supremely free to accept or reject them.
And the offer is not a one-time affair. Martha had chosen to busy herself with her own plans on this occasion, but you can bet she adjusted her behavior the next time the Lord came around. Mary had chosen to adore the Lord this time, but she would still be free to make the same or a different choice the next time. Each and every time we choose to give Christ and his will priority in our lives, we are pleasing him and extending the borders of his Kingdom in our lives. And every time we bring his message to others, we give them a chance to do the same.
We shouldn’t berate Martha too much – she also is a saint, and she was also much loved by the Lord. But she needed to learn a lesson. She needed to learn that what we do for Christ has to flow out of what we are for him – his true and devoted friends. It is easy to overload our agenda with so many activities and commitments – good and beneficial as they may be – that we lose sight of our goal: to know, love, and imitate Christ more each day. Only that will give meaning to our lives; only that will equip us to help others find meaning; only that will fill us with the joy we long for. If we are separated from the vine, we cannot bear fruit, but if we seek first His Kingdom, everything else will fall into place
The crucial sign that we may be following Martha’s footsteps a little too closely is a waning life of prayer. When we skimp on our prayer life, on that precious time that we spend, as Mary did, “at the Lord’s feet listening to him speaking,” we need to stop and check our spiritual vital signs. Maybe we have allowed ourselves to become so “distracted with all the serving” that we have forgotten why we should be serving in the first place. Or maybe all that serving leaves becomes a total distraction to truly loving Him.
Prayer of The Day
Lord, I want to build your Kingdom, fulfill my apostolate, and win souls over to your friendship. I want to do so much for you! But I know that my heart is not yet completely pure. The infection of egoism is still there, albeit on the wane because of your grace. So keep me humble, Lord. Keep me focused on you and your Kingdom – not on myself and my achievements.
Years ago, one of my dearest friends introduced me to her brother, Father Eddie. Father Eddie was a Trappist monk who was also a hermit. When he came from his “house,” in the woods to the main community of Trappist monks, those of us who knew him were privileged to be at his side and learn from him. He once told me that the greatest sin of the modern world is its busyness. We live in the most distracted, frenetic society of all time. It is tempting in such a society to think we are good Christians and deserve applause because we look to God from time to time out of the corner of our eye. Or we get busy with Christian projects. But the fullness of truth, the fullness of life, the fullness of grace deserves our full attention. Jesus really cannot be merely a part of one’s life, but must be the center of one’s life. It does not mean that our life can’t be full of activities. But unless we preserve some quiet time each day to sit at his feet as did Mary, our action will become distraction and we’ll be as snappy and unhappy as Martha.