Are you a Martha or a Mary?
C.S. Lewis said that when he was a boy, if he wanted to get time off school, he would sit close to a boy who had got measles. If he wanted to get wet, he had to stand in the rain. So, if he wanted to be like God, he had to get close to Jesus. By us staying close to him, we can become more like him in our loving. Growing in love can be hard work, but it needs to happen.
Different people reacted in various ways to Jesus, as is illustrated in the story of Mary and Martha that we have as our reading this Sunday. They, like we, wanted to get close to Jesus, but they did it in very different ways - one active and the other contemplative. How do we get close? Are we a Mary or a Martha?
Always busy, feeling as though we need to be doing stuff, however well intentioned, can be a distraction - as it was for Martha. Mary recognised that Jesus had far more to offer her in spiritual nourishment than she or Martha could offer him. Each of us have to find the balance between service of the Kingdom and moments of serious attentiveness to God. Both the active and contemplative dimensions of Christian life are necessary. But sometimes doing nothing and just dwelling is the best course of action.
Readings for Sunday
Colossians 1: 15-28
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him. He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross.
And you who were once estranged and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his fleshly body through death, so as to present you holy and blameless and irreproachable before him— provided that you continue securely established and steadfast in the faith, without shifting from the hope promised by the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven. I, Paul, became a servant of this gospel.
I am now rejoicing in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am completing what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church. I became its servant according to God’s commission that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, the mystery that has been hidden throughout the ages and generations but has now been revealed to his saints. To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. It is he whom we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone in all wisdom, so that we may present everyone mature in Christ.
Luke 10: 38 - end
Now as they went on their way, he entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he was saying. But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to him and asked, ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me.’ But the Lord answered her, ‘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.’
Readings for the week
Monday 18th July – Micah 6:1-4, 6-8, Matthew 12: 38-42
Tuesday 19th July – Micah 7:14-15, 18-20, Matthew 12: 46 - end
Wednesday 20th July – (Margaret of Antioch) Jeremiah 1: 1,4-10, Matthew 13: 1-9
Thursday 21st July – Jeremiah 2:1-3,7-8,12-13, Matthew 13: 10-17
Friday 22nd July – (Mary Magdalene) Song of Solomon 3: 1-4, John 20: 1-2, 11-18
Saturday 23rd July – Jeremiah 7: 1-11, Matthew 13:24-30