Eucharistic Readings for Sunday Proper 11 Year C Track 2
“Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing, Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41- 42)
This is a story about hospitality. It is also a story about priority. The hospitality part shows how important listening to our guests is over making them comfortable. This Gospel lesson is paired up with the Genesis story of the three visitors to Abraham as he sat by the oaks of Mamre at the entrance of his tent in the heat of the day. (Genesis 18)
Abraham makes provision for them and then stands by them as they refresh themselves. He listens to his guests. He is present with them as Mary is present with Jesus in our Gospel lesson from Luke today.
This last week we hosted our Vacation Bible School. We opened our parish and our hearts up to the children of our community and we were present with them. We were present with them in storytelling. We were present with them in arts and crafts. We were present with them in shared meals and we were present with them in singing hymns. We were attentive to their needs and they blessed us. We had laughter. We shed some tears. We were challenged with diverse concerns and behaviors and habits. We hope we also created new habits. But we loved them through it all and we still love them now. Love is eternal. We did not let ourselves get worried and distracted by many things. We were attentive to the better parts and we thank God that it will not be taken away from us, which brings us to the priority part.
The priority part causes us to be mindful of the presence of Christ over all else and the “this will not be taken away from her” part, shows its eternal nature. Food and work comes and goes. Being in the presence of the Son of God is eternal.
I have been, and still become both Martha and Mary. Martha is an excuse to use when we don’t want to face what’s really going on. I need to straighten out my check book. But I’ll go out and straighten out my tool box now; only to find out I have never replaced a broken wrench. The broken tool can’t be replaced of course, until I straighten out my check book.
Maybe I should sit and talk with someone about some personal concerns I have. I’ll do that as soon as I finish the 2000 piece puzzle that I have yet to purchase. Martha comes in all kinds of ways. Martha is herself a distraction; a temporal distraction. Inevitably the reality of the eternal sets in. We must choose the better part.
Within the context of hospitality there is a priority that should be established. This is true whether your guests are old friends or neighborhood children. Our house rules require us to listen, learn and love.
Let us hear what the Spirit is saying to (and through) God’s people. John+