Tuesday of the Twenty-Seventh Week in Ordinary Time
Memorial Feast: Saint Faustina Kowalska—Religious, (1905-+1938) Venerated in the Church as the "Apostle of Divine Mercy."
Jonah 3:1-10, Psalm 139:1-2, 3-4, 7-8, & Luke 10:38-42
'Christ in the House of Martha and Mary' by Johannes Vermeer, circa 1655
My friends, we are encouraged in today's Gospel narrative to welcome Jesus into our lives with heart and hands. Some say the two sisters, Martha and Mary, symbolize two essential aspects of the Church: prayer and service. Martha, busy with many things, welcomes Jesus with her hands by preparing for the meal. Like a rabbinic disciple, Mary sits at Jesus' feet and welcomes Him with a listening heart. Both are doing "the one thing necessary," listening to the Word of God, but in separate ways. Service without love will not do. Prayer without action will also be deficient. Holding these in balance can be a challenge for all of us.
Martha becomes distracted and preoccupied in her role of wanting to pull Mary away from listening to Jesus. The sisters appear to mirror the tension between the sons in the parable of the prodigal son—one son is dutiful to the tasks at hand, the other seems to receive the extravagant love and attention of the father. It also helps us to realize that this episode in the Gospel of Luke, which focuses on the "one thing necessary" and choosing "the better part," follows the story of the Good Samaritan, a pre-eminent example of the Word of God in action. "Blessed are they who have heard the Word, embrace it with a generous heart, and bear fruit." (Luke 8:11-15)
Today we pray for God to give us generous hearts to welcome His Word and receive His Spirit so we can know His will amid our anxieties and frustrations. May we rejoice as we use our hearts and hands to help others, especially the poor.
Question of the Day: How will you listen to the Word of God and transform your life?
Prayer: "Blessed are those who hear the Word of God and observe it."