Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, July 17, 2016
Why would Jesus tell Martha, that “Mary has chosen the better part”? Wasn’t Martha doing what all of us, as Christians, as followers of Jesus, are called to do, to serve one another?
Most of us can probably relate to Martha. Our lives are busy serving other people. We serve our spouses by helping with things like the laundry or preparing a meal. We serve our children by providing them food and cloths, and place to call home. As children, we serve our parents by helping around the home by doing chores. As we grow older, our parents also grow older so we continue to serve them by helping them with things they no longer are able to do. We serve our neighbors and friends when they are dealing with thing like cancer or other illnesses or injuries. We even serve our bosses and our customers or students or patients. We serve our parish families by helping at the liturgies, being catechists, preparing meals, participating in organizations that help others and by praying for our fellow parishioners.
All of these things are good, and we should be doing them. But why are we serving them? What is the focus of our service?
In the first reading, we hear about Abraham and his three visitors, who are often seen as the trinity. Abraham’s focus was on his guests, ensuring they had water to wash their feet and food to eat. He wasn’t focusing on how to do the work, but on the visitors themselves. And because of his hospitality, Abraham and Sarah find out they will have a son.
In the second reading, Paul is writing from prison. He is in prison because he has been spreading the good news about Jesus to the Gentiles. And while in prison, he is suffering. But he finds joy in the suffering, because he is focused on serving Jesus, and connects his suffering to the suffering of Jesus on the cross for the Church, for us.
Martha also suffers. She is suffering from worry and anxiety. But her suffering is because she is focused on the work, and not on whom she is serving.
So how do we transform ourselves from being like Martha, to being more like Abraham, Paul or Mary?
We do this by spending time at the feet of Jesus, listening to how Jesus wants us to serve him, by serving others. By following the plan God has envisioned for our lives, instead of telling God what he is to do for us.
When you entered, you were offered a card. On the card is a Prayer of Transformation. This prayer comes from the book Rediscover Jesus, which the parish handed out this past Christmas. In a few moments, we will have a few minutes to sit in silence, I invite you to pick up the card and pray the Prayer of Transformation. And as you come forward to the Altar, offer yourself in service to Jesus.
But we can’t just do it this one time. So my challenge to you is to spend time every day at the feet of Jesus. Spend at least a few minutes listening to his words in scripture, opening yourself up to be transformed by praying this prayer. Allowing yourself to be transformed from being like Martha, to being like Mary. From focusing on the work and instead focusing on how Jesus wants you to serve.
By spending this time at the feet of Jesus, by opening ourselves up to be transformed, we will find the worry and anxiety in our lives will become less, and will be replaced with more joy and peace in our lives. All because we changed our focus, from doing the work of service, and instead focusing on Jesus, and the service he is calling us to do, in service to others.
Printable Prayer of Transformation