July 12th – Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

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Do you have an older sister? I do. I have two actually. Growing up it was always a battle of who did more, who did less, who was better. We would argue over whose turn it was to wash the dishes or dry the dishes. . . then when we got a dishwasher, whose turn it was to unload it. Of course doing more than was required of you was not an option. As a young person I always had better things to do. . .. play my guitar, hang out with my friends, study, go to work or go to softball practice. These were the things that ruled my teenage years. It was easy to be over scheduled, over whelmed and under rested. Today’s gospel from Luke 10:38 is a familiar one. How many times have we heard the gospel of Mary and Martha. In the middle of the dinner party Martha asks Jesus to tell Mary to help her in the kitchen. Mary however is just hanging out with Jesus enjoying the party. Every time I reflect on this gospel I have to think. . . if Jesus were coming to my house, what would I do? No doubt I would Martha-ize. I would clean, cook and try to make my house as perfect as it could be. I am sure I would do exactly what she did and then feel as though I was being put upon because my sister was not helping. I mean if did all the cooking she could at least come in and help me clean up!
Here’s the catch though, Jesus is not saying that Martha should not cook and clean, he is saying that she is anxious and worried about many things. I believe the exact translation is something like she is being pulled in many directions. Mary, says Jesus, has chosen the better part. Jesus’ message is as timely today as it was 2000 years ago in Bethany: focus on Him. Choose the better part. Yet we still seem to live our lives as Marthas. We are pulled in many directions. We may be doing the right things for the right reasons but is our focus on Christ? Are we willing to put Jesus first and let the rest of our to do’s fall into place? St. Augustine wrote: My heart is restless until it rests in you Oh Lord. Is that what is at our core? Do we have restless hearts longing to be complete? Longing to be the better sister? Longing to be the best? Do we feel that the busier we are, the better we must be? I actually avoid certain meetings because they seem to turn into a litany of who is busier and who has more to do. Isn’t that an odd way to live? Isn’t that an odd way to cultivate your worth? God sees you. You are seen in your struggles, your success and failures. God wants you. Just as you are. His desire is for you. He is calling you to a life beyond our pale human measuring stick of worth. He is calling you to a life of joy, completeness and self assuredness. Choose the better part. Focus on Christ then you won’t need to over schedule yourself to prove your worth. You will however, still have to do dishes.

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