16th Sunday in OTC

Gn 18:1-10; Col 1:24-28; Lk 10:38-42

One night a father came to a parent-teacher conference in a Chicago high school. During a talk with one of his son’s teacher, the father broke down and began to cry. After he regained his composure, the father apologized, saying, “My son no longer lives with me. But I still love him, and I want to know how he’s doing in school.” The father then told the teacher how his wife and four children had left him that afternoon. He was a building contractor and sometimes worked 16 hours a day. Naturally, he saw little of his family, and they slowly grew farther and farther apart. 

Then the father said something sad. He said: “I wanted to buy my wife and kids all those things I had dreamed of giving them. But in the process I got so involved in working that I forgot about what they needed most: a father who was around at nights to give them love and support.” Often we are so confused in choosing our priorities in life. We think money and power can give happiness and conveniently forget love and friendship that gives happiness. We go after wealth and health forgetting God who is source of all wealth and health. 

We all ask the question on Christmas and Easter Sundays seeing the size of the congregation, how come so many people for Mass? Why don’t they show up every weekend to be with the Lord? 

God is there for us 24 hours a day. 7 days a week. He loves us. He wants to bless our lives with His peace and with His presence. But we’re too busy. It starts off by missing one day. We tell ourselves, “It’s not the end of the world. I was in church other Sundays. So missing one day is no big deal.” And then we miss another day. And we say, “I’ve been tired. I’ve been busy. I’ve had a lot on my mind. God understands.” And then we miss another day. And then another. Until one day we wake up. And we feel like God is a million miles away. When the truth is that God hasn’t gone anywhere. You’re the one who moved. Too often, we allow the things of this world to pull us away from the KING of this world. Too often, we allow things that are good to distract us from things that are BETTER. 

Dear friends! We can get so involved in what we are doing that we forget why we are doing it. We can get so involved in living that we forget the purpose of living. We can get so involved in pursuing the things money can buy that we forget about the things money can’t buy. 

Jesus said, “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.” Martha got so involved in cooking a meal for Jesus that she forgot why Jesus had come. He didn’t come for a free meal; he came to be with friends.

There are people who see Martha in this story as the material girl and Mary as the spiritual one. Jesus did not condemn Martha for her loving service; Martha was not chided because she served but because she was distracted with all the serving. 

Martha and Mary are both interested in the Lord, and want to please the Lord. The difference between them is the manner in which they go about trying to please the Lord. Martha takes the way of service or working for the Lord. Mary takes the way of relationship or being with the Lord. 

The point of the story of Jesus with Mary and Martha is not to invite us to choose between being a Martha or a Mary. The true disciple needs to be both Martha and Mary. The point of the story is to challenge our priorities so that we come to see that fellowship with the Lord, being with the Lord and hearing his word should always precede the work we do for the Lord and for our family and society. Do we have a program of daily fellowship with the Lord? Today’s gospel invites all Christians first to be a Mary who sits with devotion at the Lord’s feet listening his word, and then also to be a Martha who throws herself with energy into the business of serving the Lord.

WHAT WE CAN LEARN FROM BOTH WOMEN 1. Both Mary and Martha were doing the will of God, so you who work please the Lord and you who can pray, please the Lord. But, when you work instead of praying (when the opportunity is given) you do not choose the best part. 2. Both women prefigure all Christians. All of us are “Marthas” who work for Christ; all of us should be a “Mary” who spends time with Christ. In line with today’s message I wish to remind you once again about our upcoming Parish Mission August 19-21st from 7 – 8.30pm. Please call to register. I am sure you will personally gain in your life.