Saturday, 17 July 2010

Only a few things are necessary, really only one (Lk 10:42)

The Gospel this Sunday is from Luke 10:38-42. I will try and continue a bit of my my discussion about the experience of God in our lives. The first post was focussed on taking time to realize that God is always present to us, and that we should not run around like headless chickens. This theme connects very well with todays Gospel. The second reflection was on last weeks Gospel in which I said a bit about the aspect of sharing our experience of God, of the reality and fullness it brings into our lives.

Todays Gospel is a nice continuation. Martha is welcoming Jesus into her home. We can see that Martha is hospitable, and takes the initiative to invite Jesus in. So many of us have done that, and even though Jesus is always knocking, there is some freedom on our part to accept Him or not. We have to allow Him, to ask Him, to come into our lives.

But then we see that Mary is the one "who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to his teaching." (Luk 10:39 RSV), or to "His Word" as some translations note, which seems better to me (ἤκουεν τὸν λόγον αὐτοῦ). Martha is busy preparing everything for their guest and is annoyed with Mary, and ask Jesus to tell her to get off her lazy backside and help her (συναντιλάβηται). The word used looks interesting, as it suggest a "taking against", and seems to me to give a feeling of taking Maria away against listening to the Lord; there is a choice.

Jesus' response, as well known, is "one thing is needful. Mary has chosen the good portion, which shall not be taken away from her." (Luk 10:42 RSV) I think there is lots of material there to bring to our prayer, and to ponder upon, not a bad idea for 10-5 minutes before Mass. But building on my last posts, and my current situation of doing a good bit of running around, it shows me that it is vital that we keep sitting at our Lords feet and listen to Him.

It is very easy to eagerly receive the Gospel, to encounter Jesus, and to start trying to spread the message to the "whole world". There is lots of work to be done! But the risk is that we get to busy: "Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only a few things are necessary, really only one" (Luk 10:41-42). We loose our Lord out of sight, and this can lead us into for example either burning ourselves out, and while maybe in the process even loosing our faith, or thinking that the salvation of the world lies on our shoulders alone (independent of God).

Taking from this Gospel it is rather important to keep the balance, to always take time daily to silently sit at the Lords feet, and to let this feed into our daily lives. The most important thing is our relation with God, activity then subsequently will flow from that, and not the other way around. By encountering God we encounter true love, and love always wants to share... The movement is always from the source which is God flowing out, and subsequent it will automatically return to God.

This is a bit of what I wrote about in my first post mentioned above. We can invite God into our lives, but then race around doing all kinds of good things, but in a way forgetting the Lord is actually there, that the Word is spoken to us without us knowing it. It is very important to sit down and listen to the Word, to encounter the Word, and to make it settle in our hearts.

I guess this is what I like about the Dominican charism, it always try to hold the contemplative and active live in balance. Saint Thomas put it in the following way: contemplare et contemplata aliis tradere. This means to hand on to other the fruit of our contemplation. Through an intimate relationship with God, through prayer and contemplation (Pope Benedict XVI has said so often, contemplating the Face of Jesus) but also through study we grow closer in union and understanding of and with God. Then we go out to others to share our experience and try to explain to them the great gift which is our faith. I defiantly have felt this urge and desire, this fire within, to share the great love of God for us. To tell others how it can completely change our lives around, how it allows us to live our lives to the full!

1 comment:

evanscove said...

Thanks for sharing your ideas on that passage. At mass today, our priest remarked about that Christians never settled on the best way to interpret it, noting that it has created tension between those who emphasize a life of prayer/contemplation and those who emphasize active service. I suppose it's all about striking a healthy balance between the two.

Evan

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