Active and contemplative. At work and at rest. These are dynamics we all face in our lives, and if we’re honest, we might not always balance perfectly! In this Sunday’s Gospel, our daily tensions play out in two sisters. Mary “sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak.” Martha, on the other hand, is “burdened with much serving.” This, as it turns out, is not necessarily “the better part.”
All of us reading this have some sort of labor we engage in. We have different trades or careers. We have responsibilities as family members, some of which may take up most of our time. In the time of Scripture, showing hospitality to guests was one of the most important values in society. Our work is important. Jesus himself spent decades as a carpenter. So what’s the problem with Martha? Martha is burdened, anxious, and worried. Not only that, but she resents her sister's choice. “Tell her to help me,” she demands of Jesus.
How easy it is to get very busy doing good things. We need to provide for our families and plan for retirement. We need to make sure children are clothed, fed, and educated. Our committees, ministries, and sports schedules need to stay on track. However, without a balance of work with rest, without contemplation in the midst of our action, we will miss the point. While many parts are required for our life in the world to function, the better part is our relationship with God. This week, make time in your busy schedule to sit at Jesus’ feet. Maybe this is 20 minutes with Scripture, participating in a daily Mass, or a quiet walk alone in the park. Receive what Christ wants to speak to you.
As I get older, what really matters to me changes. I remember being in high school and having to wear certain brands and to look a certain way. Now, many days I simply wear what is clean! I used to collect certain things that I no longer seem to care about much now. I wanted certain things for my children, and now I am happy if they are happy, regardless of what happens. I have changed political stances a few times. I even follow different sports teams today than I did when I was younger. Time, circumstance, wisdom, and even disillusionment all play a part in my ever-changing attitude toward what really matters in life.
All has changed except my faith. My faith is the one constant in my life. It is the most precious of all the gifts God has given to me. Life hasn’t been a constant high, and there have been several low valleys along the way. It has been my faith that has seen me through all times, good and bad. If anything has changed, it is that Jesus matters more today than he did yesterday.
What really matters to you? What’s the main thing in your life? I have witnessed once-strong disciples place politics, wealth, career, and family ahead of Jesus over time. All those things are enticing, but they are things that change. Even your family grows and changes as the years go by, as does your relationship with them. The one thing that does not change is God. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. It can bring great peace to your life when what matters to you is the one thing that remains constant. The main thing is to keep the main thing, the main thing. That main thing is Jesus.
- Tracy Earl Welliver, MTS
God already has the solution.