The Better Part

July 17, 2016 | N W | Discipleship, Father Salvador, Saints, Self-Reflection, Service

Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
July 17, 2016 – Year C
Readings: Gn 18:1-10A / Ps 15 / Col 1:24-28 / Lk 10:38-42
by Rev. Salvador Añonuevo, Pastor

From the time we get up in the morning until the time we sleep at night, we have to make decisions, and we hope and pray that we will always make the right ones.  Sometimes decision-making is as easy as choosing between eating the food that we love and not eating the food that we hate.  In that case, the choice is obvious.  But there are moments in our lives when making a decision is not so simple, because we perceive the choices as equally good, yet we still want to choose the better option.

In today’s gospel we heard about our Lord visiting his friends, Martha and Mary.  We know that they have a brother named Lazarus, too.   This family must really be close to our Lord, and their house in Bethany must be the place where He and His disciples would go when they were hungry or tired or just to unwind.

Common sense tells us that Martha was definitely doing the right thing.  Jesus and His disciples, after a long journey curing the sick and driving out demons, needed not only to rest, but also to have something to eat.  It is not surprising, therefore, that after Martha went to the kitchen to prepare food, she complained when she noticed that her sister Mary was just sitting in front of our Lord and listening to Him, when she should have been helping Martha in the kitchen.  Martha might have been a little surprised when our Lord said that Mary had chosen the better part.

The Lord was not saying that Martha should have stopped preparing food, because she shouldn’t have stopped, and His disciples were certainly looking forward to the food that Martha was preparing.  But Martha is His close friend.  And the Lord Jesus knows that she understood what He was trying to say.  Just as you understand what your close friend is saying without him or her spelling it all out, because you have known your friend for a long time.

Add to that the fact that the Lord is not just a human being. He is God and He has a way of making people know what is in His heart.  Centuries later, we know that Martha did the right thing.  We now have a Saint Martha.  That is why in her honor here at Holy Name of Mary we have perhaps one of the most popular ministries, Martha’s Kitchen, to imitate what she was doing.

But at that particular moment, our Lord was speaking on another level.  Just like the FM and the AM bands on the radio.  It is another level.  Just like talking about crossword puzzles and comparing them to Pokémon Go.  Those are definitely another level.  So this is where our Lord is coming from. As St. Luke the Evangelist tells us, Mary was at the feet of Jesus listening to Him speak.  That is the posture of a disciple listening to her Master’s teaching.  In that manner of speaking, Mary has surely chosen the better part.  We also know that Martha did the same and listened to Jesus’ words.  Listening to God’s living words and being in His presence is of foremost importance, and we should not allow our worldly preoccupations, noble as they may be, distract us from our opportunity to be close to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

In chapter six of the gospel of Matthew, Jesus said, “If God so clothes the grass of the field which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will He not much more provide for you?  Your heavenly Father knows what you need.  But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all the things that you need will be given to you.”