“Picking out our priorities properly, by giving the highest priority to the Lord!”
(Based on Gen 18:1-10, Col 1:24-28 and Lk 10:38-42 – 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle C)
Nine year old Bobby arrived late for the football match.
The game had already started.
The coach, obviously upset as Bobby was a key player, shouted at him: “Why are you so late?”
“I had to decide”, replied Bobby, “Today is a Sunday. And I had to decide between going to Church and going for this football game”
“Then what did you do” asked the coach curiously
“I tossed a coin to decide” said Bobby.
“Tossed a coin?” asked the surprised coach, “But that shouldn’t have taken too long.”
“Hmmm…” continued Bobby, “Well… I had to toss the coin 35 times!”
(Little Bobby kept on tossing the coin…till he got what he wanted – i.e. to go for the football match!!)
How often are we too like Li’l Bobby, when it comes to making choices and priorities, especially in our spiritual life…
We get confused in choosing the correct choices
We get puzzled in preferring the proper priorities
We sometimes even seek to justify our choices and argue to validate our priorities
We insist on having our way… modify situations to suit our needs!
As a result, we often end up….
… in complaining and cribbing
… in back biting and bickering
… in criticism and calumny
The Gospel of the Day is a lesson in making the proper priorities and the correct choices in life.
We have the familiar incident of Jesus as a guest in the house of Martha and Mary.
Jesus came to a village and was welcomed in the house of Martha and Mary (Lk 10:38)
Martha demonstrated great hospitality by welcoming Jesus into the home (Lk 10:40)
She got busy with the tasks of serving their honoured Guest.
Mary, on the other side, displayed great devotion and love, by sitting at the feet of Jesus (Lk 10:39)
She got immersed in spending time, with the revered Rabbi.
The character of Martha is vividly seen in this incident
Here is a lady…
… hospitable and welcoming
… engaging in works to make the stay of her Guest comfortable
… ready to struggle and do whatever she can, to bring happiness to the Other
Many of us could probably identify ourselves with Martha.
We are willing to let go of our self so that others may enjoy and feel contented
We engage ourselves into works so that the life of our loved ones are taken care
We are ready to struggle and do whatever we can, to bring joy and comfort to others
But despite doing all these hard works, like Martha, we often end up on the wrong side
When Martha complained to Jesus, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving?” (Lk 10: 40)
… she was expressing her feelings of being over burdened
… she was giving vent to her emotions of not being acknowledged
But Jesus calms her, and chides her mildly, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and anxious about many things…” (Lk 10: 41)
Something interesting is to be noted here…. “Martha, Martha!”
A double calling of the name!
The Scripture records only very few instances when such an occurrence took place – the name being called twice…
Abraham: (Gen 22:11): “But the angel of the Lord called to him out of heaven: ‘Abraham, Abraham.’ He answered, ‘Here I am.'”
Jacob (Gen 46:2): “In a vision at night God called to Israel, ‘Jacob, Jacob.’ He answered, ‘Here I am.'”
Moses (Ex 3:4): “When the Lord saw that he had gone over to see, God called him from the middle of the bush, ‘Moses, Moses.’ He answered, ‘Here I am.'”
Samuel (1 Sam 3:10): “The Lord came and stood and spoke as at the other times: ‘Samuel, Samuel.’ and Samuel said, ‘Speak, your servant is listening.'”
Simon Peter (Lk 22:31) “Simon, Simon! Behold, Satan has demanded to sift all of you like wheat, but I have prayed that your own faith may not fail.
Saul (Acts 9:4) “Falling to the ground he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me?”
We also find another important instance: Jesus calling on God (Mt 27:46): “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani – My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”
What does the twice calling of the name in the Bible refer to?
- Repeating a person’s name was a Hebrew expression of intimacy
- In all the instances of the name being called twice, a major event/occasion/teaching was being referred to
Taking a cue from this…
…When Jesus calls “Martha, Martha” – the name being called twice:
Jesus is expressing a filial tenderness and love for Martha
Jesus is also referring to an important teaching: “Giving importance to Jesus above all”
To each of us then, who find ourselves, struggling and complaining like Martha…
The Lord calls our name – “probably twice ” – and tells us:
“With much tenderness and love, I invite you my child, to give heed to an important teaching:
… Give priority to ME above all!”
Like Martha, maybe we are often distracted
We tell the Lord that we wish to follow Him wholeheartedly…
… but are sometimes unwilling to let go of our sinful behaviours
We promise God that we would spend more time in prayer…
… but often excuses like lack of time prevent us from fulfilling our promises
We resolve that we will let go our sinful habits and tendencies…
… but often we cling on to those pleasures and fail to be more determined in rooting them out
Today, let us give heed to this invitation of the Lord: “To give priority to HIM above all!”
Surely, all of us do have…
… our own works and responsibilities
… our own cares and concerns of life
… our own distractions and troubles
But in the midst of all this…. beyond all these aspects: Let us give priority to the Lord!
Let His presence reign… in our work and responsibilities
Let His Providence be trusted… in our cares and concerns of life
Let His Power prevail… in our distractions and troubles
Let the incident of Martha and Mary inspire us, to make personal resolutions…
… of daily spending time with the Lord in personal prayer
… of daily reading the Word of God and listening to His Voice
… of daily making an examination of conscience and amending our lives
The Lord loves us much….
… let us love Him too
… let Him reign over our homes and our lives
… let us give Him full attention as The Guest of our hearts
Situations in life will often put to us dilemma in making a choice… in picking out our priorities
“Let us always give priority to the Lord!”
Are we going to toss a coin for this?
God Bless! Live Jesus!
Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
THE GRACE OF BAPTISM – INCORPORATED INTO THE CHURCH, THE BODY OF CHRIST
Having become a member of the Church, the person baptized belongs no longer to himself, but to him who died and rose for us.
From now on, he is called to be subject to others, to serve them in the communion of the Church, and to “obey and submit” to the Church’s leaders, holding them in respect and affection.
Just as Baptism is the source of responsibilities and duties, the baptized person also enjoys rights within the Church: to receive the sacraments, to be nourished with the Word of God and to be sustained by the other spiritual helps of the Church.
“Reborn as sons of God, [the baptized] must profess before men the faith they have received from God through the Church” and participate in the apostolic and missionary activity of the People of God. (CCC #1269-1270)