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July 19, 2019

16th Sunday of OT (C)

Only one thing… LUKE 10:38–42

This Sunday’s gospel shows us intimacy with Jesus. It calls us to come into His presence, where there is fullness of joy. He has told us in several Scriptures to come “….Come to me, all you who are heavy laden and I will give you rest…bend your necks to my yoke and learn of me, for I am meek and humble of heart…” He also said to “Come boldly before his throne of grace.”

This is the context in which we find ourselves in today’s gospel, that that is where we ought to be—in His presence. It is there we are sustained; there we are moulded; It is there we find rest.

Mary, one of the two sisters whom He visited, chose to sit at His feet and listen to Him speak. Martha, the other sister, felt it was more important to entertain Jesus, to exhibit hospitality. While she burdened herself with serving Jesus, she asked Him to tell Mary to come and help her. She saw Mary, as most of us would, as lazy and doing nothing—she was just sitting and ‘ole talking’ with the guest and wasting time, while she was doing all the work.

She must have been fuming and upset with both Jesus and Mary, because she asked Jesus to tell Mary to come and help her and Jesus, instead of chastising Mary for not helping her sister, said “Martha, Martha…you worry and fret about so many things, and yet few are needed, indeed only one….”

Many of us find ourselves like Martha, believing that we are doing good, by overburdening ourselves with hospitality, serving on committees, Ministries, attending conferences and retreats, going on pilgrimages, and engaging in all the activities which keep us busy. But Jesus said what we should be doing is seeking a relationship with God, which can only be found in His presence.

It is in the being, not the doing. It is in the relationship not in the hospitality, that we find Him. Just as He entered the village to visit the two sisters, so too, He has entered into our lives.

What is going on in our lives that we want Him to fix, to address, to change? What are you doing while He is with you? Are you spending quality time with Him, taking advantage of His wisdom, His knowledge, His comfort, His grace, His mercy, His peace, His healing, and basking in His Holy presence? Or are you like Martha, anxious and concerned about too many things?

Jesus is calling us to focus on our interior life, to come away and come apart from the exterior life, the worldly life and learn of Him, learn His ways. He tells us to “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matt 6:33). This is all that we need to do, so that we can live the abundant life that Jesus promised us.

The more time that we spend in His presence listening to Him speak to us, through His Word, that abundant life He promised us, grows in us in intensity and depth and becomes a sign to all of our spiritual health.

What an awesome mutual relationship. This is how God can touch and change us, so we can become more like Him. That is why He said that Mary had the better part, and it will not be taken from her. The visit will end, but the relationship remains forever.

The Gospel Meditations for July are by Jemma Redman, founder of A Way of Living in Christ International, a spiritual support group for adults; the artistic director of the Southern Christian Drama Ministry, and a television co-host. She is a parishioner of St Peter’s RC Church, Pointe-a-Pierre, and St Mary Magdalene RC Church, Houston, Texas.

By Jemma Redman