Tuesday, October 7, 2014
27th Week in Ordinary Time
Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary
1st Reading: Gal 1:13-24
Gospel: Luke 10:38-42
As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he entered a village and a woman called Martha welcomed him to her house. She had a sister named Mary who sat down at the Lord’s feet to listen to his words. Martha, meanwhile, was busy with all the serving and finally she said, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do all the serving?”
But the Lord answered, “Martha, Martha, you worry and are troubled about many things, whereas only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen the better part, and it will not be taken away from her.”
(Daily Gospel in the Assimilated Life Experience)
Both Martha and Mary were busy doing something for Jesus, although only Mary was in direct contact with him because Martha was doing her part in the kitchen. No doubt Jesus was pleased with both of them. Then it came to pass that Martha became envious of Mary’s part. She did not keep this feeling to herself. She complained to Jesus loud enough for Mary to hear. “Lord,” she complained, “don’t you care that my sister has left me to do all the serving?”
In fairness to Martha, she was really doing the harder job at the kitchen. But she did not put her heart and mind into her work. Her heart was heavy as it was consumed by envy. Attitudes like this do not win God’s sympathy. In fact instead of pacifying her Jesus took her to task for her self-centered attitude and declared Mary as having chosen the better part.
When Jesus declared that Mary had chosen the better part, he did not mean to drive us away from our workplaces and herd us all to our prayer rooms. Work is an essential part of human existence and is in fact necessary in order to survive. But there must be a difference between a lower form of animal working for food in the fields and a human being sweating it out in the workplace. Because the former is driven by instinct while the latter equipped with intelligence and free will, the difference lies in the meaning that their works assume. Only human beings can put meaning to the work that they do.
Today’s Gospel story takes the meaning that human beings can put into his work to highest levels. The highest level to which humans can raise his work is the level of sacrifice. The word is derived from two Latin words “sacrum” and “facere” which taken together means “to make sacred”. Work becomes sacred when offered to the Lord. Had Martha raised the level of her work to “sacrifice”, it wouldn’t have mattered to her whether she was in the kitchen or at the receiving room entertaining Jesus. Had Martha worked at higher planes she could have focused on the ultimate objective of what she was doing and still arrived at the same point where Mary was.
Prayer for the day: God our Father purify our hearts so that in everything we do we may seek not ourselves but the wisdom to serve you. Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
FEAST OF THE DAY: Today is the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. This Feast was established in 1571 by St. Pius V to commemorate the Naval Battle of Lepanto. The victory of the Christian fleet over the Turks was attributed to the Virgin Mary, whose help was invoked through praying the Holy Rosary.