The idea of today’s readings is for us to be aware that Christ is present in our daily life and that we should focus on Him in all that we do in our daily routine. “It is Christ among you; your hope of glory”. (Today’s readings) However, inevitably, our daily demands cause us “to worry and fret about so many things”.
‘I’ feel troubled. Inside me, I don’t seem able to be at peace. I seem tired with life. But honestly I can’t figure out the exact reason why I am feeling ‘lost’. I confide in a friend. His quick response was “Don’t worry, just pray about it and let the Spirit lead”, and left me hanging at that. I was asked to be a ‘Mary’ but I needed a ‘Martha’. I needed to be worried about and fret over because at that particular stage of my faith journey I couldn’t yet focus on Christ.
So we ask the thought provoking question of our self, “who do we resemble more, Mary or Martha?” And feel inadequate with either choice; we don’t want to ‘sit’ and not ‘do’ although that seem to be the ‘holier’ choice. ‘Sit’ or ‘Do’, are both equally essential as we navigate our daily life in search of the path of life that will help us find peace. Being ‘Mary’ or ‘Martha’ are actually two tracks on the one path; the path that will lead us into his kingdom. In everything we “worry and fret over”, we must learn to embrace Christ who is among us, who walks with us to claim the reason why we live; the glory of eternal life.
Mother Teresa was one of the greatest model of a ‘do-er’ as she gave till it was painful in helping the needy, but she did so with great strength coming from her mornings and evenings when she ‘sat’ with Christ. It enabled her to “listen to him speaking” so that her days are not “distracted” as she went about “serving”. In her doing, she made real this presence of “Christ among us” to the people around her.
When we ‘do’, we become the “hands and feet of Jesus”. We open channels for the Holy Spirit to work through. We allow God’s love to flow through us to touch the lives of others. We bring a heart to our belief; we turn our faith into an experience. As we journey through our often turbulent life, we feel the Risen Christ walking alongside. ‘Doing’ makes our faith come alive.
But we can easily be carried away by our “doing” and allow it to settle into a set pattern, a ritual of methods, a train of tradition and a perfection of formula without understanding the ‘why’ we do; we lose focus on Christ and begin to be distracted by the need of results. We lose the element of the heart; our ‘doing; is cold and calculated and love and mercy stop flowing.
So we need to constantly ‘sit’. We need to unpack, to discern below our worrying and our fretting to check if Christ is still there is all we do. When we ‘sit’, we do not get a new task list, we ‘sit’ to be renewed. Christ wants us to see the fruits of our ‘doing’. He wants to say “thank you”. Affirmation is a powerful tool and by ‘sitting’ each day in between our ‘doing’ we received affirmation and gratitude to continue our growth journey down this path. We grow into his likeness.
When we do our best, Christ will take care of the rest. When our focus is on him, Christ will pick up whatever we knocked over due to our human inabilities. He only ask for our best effort, however limited we are individually. Abraham did his best in the presence of God in today’s first reading. Christ looks to qualify our ‘doing’.
This wisdom of having two tracks on one path must also be viewed from a broader perspective. These dual tracks can be seen as ‘mission and community’. We are all missioned to bring the Good News; to make real that the kingdom of God is near. ‘Mission’ is our call to ‘do’ and ‘community’ is our time to ‘sit’ together to discern and be affirmed. For any Christian community to remain vibrant and alive, it must embody a mission; to be ‘Mary and Martha’, to sit with, and do for Christ.
(16th Sunday – Gen 18:1-10, Ps 15:2-5, Col 1:24-28, Luke 10:38-42)