16 th Sunday in OTC

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

One morning a farmer told his wife that he was going out to pluck the ripe fruits from his field. He got off to an early start so he could warm up the truck. He needed more petrol, so he went to the store to get it. On the way to the store he noticed the pigs weren’t fed. So he proceeded to the corn crib, where he found some sacks of feed. Beside the sacks were potatoes that were sprouting. Then when he started for the potato pit, he passed the wood pile and remembered that his wife wanted wood in the house. As he picked up a few sticks, an ailing chicken passed by. He dropped the wood and picked up the chicken. When noon arrived, the frustrated farmer had not even gotten to the truck, let alone to the field. By now, it was very hot. Some ripe fruits have dropped.

Dear friends! Have you ever intended to do something you knew was very important, but found yourself in a similar situation – distracted by many other seemingly important tasks, which kept you from accomplishing your main objective?

I love taking photos. Sometimes I ask others to take my picture. Some of them do not really focus, they take too many at a time and tell that I can choose whichever I want. In our daily life, it is important that we focus on the right thing too. Sometimes, we forget what is important and we focus on all the wrong things. That is what our Bible lesson teaches us today.

In Luke chapter ten Jesus has been discussing with a Jewish religious leader the two great commands of the Scripture: that we are to love God with all our heart, mind and soul and that we are to love our neighbor as ourselves. Jesus has just used the story of “The Good Samaritan” to illustrate how we should love our neighbor and now he uses the story of two sisters, Martha and Mary, to illustrate how we should love God.

Jesus went to visit in the home of two sisters named Mary and Martha. The sisters welcomed Jesus into their home and Martha immediately began to work very hard to get dinner ready for Jesus. While Martha worked to prepare the meal, Mary just sat at the feet of Jesus and listened to his teaching. Martha was upset that her sister was not helping her, so she went to Jesus and complained, “Can’t you see that my sister is not helping me? Don’t you even care? Tell her to help me.” Jesus answered, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about too many things. Only a few things are important, perhaps just one. Mary has chosen that one thing and I will not take it away from her.”

I believe that we many times have wrongly contrasted Martha and Mary, as though each Christian should make a choice to either be a worker like Martha or a worshipper like Mary. But in so doing I think we miss the point, the Lord wants each of us to imitate Mary in our worship and Martha in our work, and to achieve balance in both. Martha looked and said to herself “What privilege to prepare a meal for the Master!” Mary on the other hand would have said, “What a privilege to sit at the feet of the Master.” Is one right and the other wrong? No. Duty and Devotion are both necessary but there must be a balance.

Notice first that Jesus did not rebuke Martha for making preparations for Him and the other guest. He is not rejecting Martha’s attempt to serve Him. Martha’s problem was not that she was preparing food for her guest to eat, this was necessary. But she gave too much importance to it. Today we still have to be careful that we do not let the necessary things that must be done get out of balance and distort our lives.

Every action, every relationship, every institution has a basic focus, which is its reason for existence if it hopes to succeed; if loses that focus it will fail. When you lose your focus, which why you do what you do, then you are in trouble. Martha made the mistake of focusing on herself rather than on Jesus. Mary, on the other hand, was totally focused upon Jesus and what he was teaching. Jesus said that she had chosen the right thing.

As you live your daily life, are worried and troubled about many things that are not really important, or are you focused on Jesus, the one thing that is really important? Let our prayer be: Lord, keep us from getting so involved in life that we forget why you gave us life. Keep us from getting so involved in living that we forget the purpose of living. Keep us from getting so involved in pursuing the things money can buy that we forget about the things money can’t buy.