✝️ REFLECTION CAPSULE – July 29, 2022: Friday

“Seeking the intercession of Sts Martha Mary and Lazarus, to remain focussed on the Lord!”

(Based on the Feast of Sts Martha, Mary and Lazarus)

Luciano Pavarotti was an Italian operatic Tenor.

(A tenor is a type of classical male singing voice whose vocal range is one of the highest of the male voice types)

He made numerous recordings of complete operas and individual arias, gaining worldwide fame for the brilliance and beauty of his tone…
… and eventually established himself as one of the finest tenors of the 20th century.

Luciano relates:
“When I was a boy, my father, a baker, introduced me to the wonders of singing.
>> He urged me to work very hard to develop my voice.

Arrigo Pola, a professional tenor in my hometown of Modena, Italy, took me as a pupil.

I also enrolled in a teachers college.

On graduating, I asked my father, ‘Shall I be a teacher or a singer?’

“Luciano,” my father replied, ‘if you try to sit on two chairs, you will fall between them.

For life, you must choose one chair.’

“I chose one.
>> It took seven years of study and frustration before I made my first professional appearance.
>> It took another seven to reach the Metropolitan Opera.

And now I think whether it’s laying bricks, writing a book–whatever we choose–we should give ourselves to it.

Commitment, that’s the key.
>> Choose one chair!”

Often we try to find joy and satisfaction in life, by trying to adjust and fit into many “chairs”.

>> We end up in frustrations and irritation and bitterness.
>> Our life gets entangled into a lot of annoyance and resentment

The Result: We feel life is totally unfair to us… We complain.. We argue!

The Feast of the Day – the Memorial of Sts Martha, Mary and Lazarus – is an invitation to re-focus our attention to the Lord, and to renew our commitment to the Kingdom.

During his journey of ministry, we are presented with two incidents that describes Jesus’ encounter with the family of Martha, Mary and Lazarus – one by St Luke, and the other by St John.

1. St Luke describes Jesus coming to a village and being welcomed in the house of Martha and Mary. (Lk 10:38-42)

2. St John describes Jesus encountering Martha and Mary, before raising the dead Lazarus (Jn 11:1-44)

For our Reflection today, we shall consider some pointers from the incident narrated by St Luke – that took place in the house, where Jesus was welcomed (Lk 10:38-42)

Martha demonstrated great hospitality by welcoming Jesus into the home.
>> 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
>> She got immersed into spending time, with the revered Rabbi.

This incident could raise a few reactions that we could generally have towards Martha and Mary.

1. Appreciating the courage and devotion of Mary
>> The position adopted by Mary was something contrary to the fixed norms for a Jewish woman.

She sat the the feet of Jesus, just as a student would, while learning at the feet of a Rabbi.
> This was a role, reserved for men.

Yet, Mary “chose the better part” (Lk 10: 42)

2. A tendency to think only negatively about Martha
>> Martha is very often portrayed in a very negative light as being too nagging and pestering.

She had got herself busy in preparing for the comfortable stay of the guest, which was a pretty normal and expected thing to do.
>> This was a role, expected of all women, in general.

3. A tendency to even consider Mary as being lazy
>> The fact that the Gospel fails to mention any role of Mary in the “process of hospitality” could cause us to think that Mary was lazy or avoiding the responsibility of duty.

4. Feeling empathatic for Martha
>> Martha was only doing the natural duty that was part of her office – taking care of the guests.

It was natural that, seeing her sister not helping, caused irritation to her.

Besides all these possible reactions to the incident, it is also good to reflect on the words of Christ to Martha, which gives us a deep pointer for reflection.

Jesus tells Martha, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her” (10:41-42).

The Lord extends an invitation to Martha to examine her approach…

Jesus is not against her actions of service and of providing a comfortable hospitality.
>> But he is concerned that Martha is too “worried and distracted”

The Greek word used for “distracted” is “periespato”
>> “Periespato” means to be pulled or dragged in different directions

As a result of this high degree of distraction….
>> Martha fails to maintain an important and basic dimension of hospitality – giving due attention to the guest
>> Martha also seeks to cause a humiliation for her sister, Mary, in public
>> Martha even goes on to accuse Jesus of “not caring about her”

We live in a world where we are prone to get easily “distracted” – to be pulled or dragged in different directions – like Martha.

But can we seek to overcome this crippling tendency by “choosing the better part” of giving whole attention to the Lord and to His Kingdom.

Very often…
… our best intentions in life can get spoilt due to our tendency to over-worry or be over-anxious.
… our noblest deeds of works can be marred due to our unnecessary outbursts of irritation and distractions

Life offers us many “chairs” – choices – which can distract us, cause us irritation and take away our focus from what is most basic and most important.

May we ask the grace to choose the “one thing that is needed” – the one “chair” – of being committed to the Lord and His Kingdom.

May the intercession of Sts Martha Mary and Lazarus help us to remain focussed on the Lord…
… so that we can enjoy true peace and joy in life!

Happy Feast Day!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

📖 Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
>> In the Roman Rite, the bishop extends his hands over the whole group of the confirmands.
>> Since the time of the apostles this gesture has signified the gift of the Spirit. (CCC # 1299)

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