We are all familiar with this story of life in the house at Bethany, and most women have a secret soft spot for Martha and her dilemma! But here in this house, with his good friends, Jesus points out just how we can lose sight of what’s really important. There is no one who hasn’t been worried, and there are times when our worries become our focus and a complete distraction. I read once that worry starts with ‘a small trickle of fear that meanders through the mind until it cuts a channel into which all other thoughts are drained’. Unchecked worry can become all-consuming and incapacitating.
The other way we can lose sight of what’s important in life is by distraction. How close is that smart phone right now? At no other time in history have there been so many types of instant distractions that stop us thinking and focussing on what’s important, or even what is going on around us. Martha is worried and distracted? Well Martha we get where you’re at!
When did busyness become such a virtue? We are busy people, and we encourage our children to be busy, constantly on the move, with never a moment to stop and think. We focus on our electronic devices and we are proud of the productivity that keeps us from being fully alive and paying attention to the world around us. But like Martha, we need to know that although there are always going to be times when we are busy and distracted, we can’t let that become an excuse to lose sight of what’s important. Yes, there was food to prepare and guests to feed, and dishes to organise, but Jesus reminds us that Mary, the one who took time to sit at Jesus’ feet, to focus, to listen, had chosen the better part.
Today’s Gospel calls us to find our equilibrium, for our own good as well as for the good of others. Stop, turn around, listen out most of all for the voice of God within, the voice that can only be heard in the quiet space. The better part for which we yearn of course, is Jesus himself. And the truth of it is, that as we find our quiet space, as we listen for this voice of God, as we spend time with Jesus himself, we then become people who bring God’s kingdom into being in the world around us.
In peace, Mother Lynda.
Gospel Reading: Luke 10:38-42