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Liturgical day: July 29th: Saint Martha

Gospel text (Lc 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».

«You worry and are troubled about many things, whereas only one thing is needed»

Fr. Antoni CAROL i Hostench
(Sant Cugat del Vallès, Barcelona, Spain)

Today, we, —no matter how busy we may be, at times, by so many things— must also listen to our Lord reminding us that «only one thing is needed» (Lk 10:42): esteem and saintliness. They should be our aim, the horizon we must never lose sight of amidst our daily chores.

Because we shall be “busy” if we follow our Creator’s plan: «’Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it’» (Gen 1:28). The earth! the world!: this is our meeting point with the Lord. «My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one» (Jn 17:15). Yes, the world is an “altar” for us and for our donation to God and to the others.

We belong in this world, but that does not mean we have to be worldly. On the contrary, we are called to become —in a beautiful expression of His Holiness John Paul II— “Priests of Creation!” “priests” of our world, of a world we passionately love.

Here is the question: world and saintliness; our daily chores and the one and only thing we truly need. They are not two opposed realities: and we have to try to make both coincide. And this coincidence must be carried out —in the first place and basically— in our own heart, where heaven and earth can be reunited. Because in the human heart is where the dialogue between Creator and creature takes place.

Therefore, prayer is necessary. «Ours is a time of continual movement which often leads to restlessness, with the risk of “doing for the sake of doing”. We must resist this temptation by trying “to be” before trying "to do". In this regard we should recall how Jesus reproved Martha: ‘You are anxious and troubled about many things; one thing is needful’ (Lk 10:41-42)» (John Paul II).

There is no opposition between “to be” and “to do”, but there is indeed a priority order of precedence: «Mary has chosen the better part, and it will not be taken away from her» (Lk 10,42).