Sixteenth Sunday In Ordinary Time(Click here for readings)
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.”
Lord, do you not care? What a question! Of course the Lord cares!!! And if anyone ever had the right to ask such a direct question, it would have been the Lord, not Martha. Martha, do you really care?
Now the Lord wasn’t disturbed that Martha was working hard. I’m sure He was very grateful to her for preparing everything for Him: the meal, the table (?), and the ambient. But what must have bothered Jesus more than anything else, was Martha’s insistence that Mary get up and leave Him. That’s when He got a little impatient with her. How could anyone demand such a thing?
Lord, do you not care? How can we avoid asking such a question to the Lord? What can we do?
By sitting next to the Lord, what Mary was effectively doing was praying to God. She was listening. This is essentially what prayer is: listening. That’s why prayer is essential. That’s why we all need to pray. Even the Lord prayed. If we do not pray, then we will be busy bees but not necessarily effective or efficient bees.
Martha is a busy bee. She gets things done. She’s a doer, but not much of a listener. Are you the same way? I am! I’m not very good at listening by any stretch of the imagination. I hate to say it, but it’s true. Are you the same way? If you are, then chances are you’re not good at praying either.
I like to stay busy because it occupies my time and my thoughts. I find it easier to do than to listen to people.
According to a fascinating infographic entitled “How Social Media is Ruining Our Minds,” over the course of the last ten years the average attention span has dropped from 12 minutes to a staggeringly short 5 minutes.
I’m not a good listener, but I wish I were. I need to work on it. I know I can be better at it. How? By praying more. Yes, by praying!
From what I can gather, Martha must have had a “Type A” personality. You know, someone who says a lot and apologizes a lot? That’s Martha. That’s a lot of us. She’s always shooting off some smart aleck remark.
Mary on the other hand, must have had a “Type B” personality. She reflected before she spoke; before she reacted; before she let loose with her tongue. How did she become like that? She prayed. Prayer helped Mary to see beyond the immediate needs.
In general, kids don’t like to go to Church because they don’t like to listen. They don’t like to go to Church because they like to get things done. But instead of getting things done they're undoing a lot of things that were nicely done. I don’t need to get into it. You know what I mean.
Mary chose the better part, and it was not about to be taken away from her. Allow the Lord to sit down with you. Allow Him to speak to you. Allow yourself some time to listen.
Mary has chosen the better part. Christ told Martha that Mary had chosen the better part. He didn’t tell her it was the best part. He said it was the “better part.”
It’s good to serve the Lord, but it’s even better to first listen to Him. But the best part of all is to be another Christ.
St. Paul writes of this to the Colossians: “My dear brothers and sisters, I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the Church, of which I am a minister…to bring to completion for you the word of God, the mystery hidden from ages and from generations past. But now it has been manifested to his holy ones, to whom God chose to make known the riches of the glory of his mystery among the Gentiles; it is Christ in you, the hope for glory” (Lk 10:38-42).
My dear friends, this is the best part!
Pope Francis is not an actor. He is an authentic man. It is Christ in Him. He is living today as he lived yesterday. He listens, and then decides. As one church observer wrote: “Pope Francis is a Jesuit…They listen to people. They don’t decide immediately. They want to know everything. At the end of the day, they make a decision.”
The Pope listens well because he prays well.
Let’s take some time in the morning to pray before work. Maybe this way we’ll stop undoing the good works that were done before us.