Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Better Part

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Minute Meditations

The Ten Commandments

The commandments are a gift, not a curse. Sin is less about breaking the rules and more about breaking the Father's heart.
— from Tweet Inspiration

St. Martha
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Martha, Mary and their brother Lazarus were evidently close friends of Jesus. He came to their home simply as a welcomed guest, rather than as one celebrating the conversion of a sinner like Zacchaeus or one unceremoniously received by a suspicious Pharisee. The sisters feel free to call on Jesus at their brother's death, even though a return to Judea at that time seems almost certain death.

No doubt Martha was an active sort of person. On one occasion (see Luke 10:38-42) she prepares the meal for Jesus and possibly his fellow guests and forthrightly states the obvious: All hands should pitch in to help with the dinner.

Yet, as biblical scholar Father John McKenzie points out, she need not be rated as an "unrecollected activist." The evangelist is emphasizing what our Lord said on several occasions about the primacy of the spiritual: "...o not worry about your life, what you will eat [or drink], or about your body, what you will wear.... But seek first the kingdom [of God] and his righteousness" (Matthew 6:25b, 33a); "One does not live by bread alone" (Luke 4:4b); "Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness..." (Matthew 5:6a).

Martha's great glory is her simple and strong statement of faith in Jesus after her brother's death. "Jesus told her, 'I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?' She said to him, 'Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world'" (John 11:25-27).


Scripture commentators point out that in writing his account of the raising of Lazarus, St. John intends that we should see Martha's words to Mary before tLazarus was raised as a summons that every Christian must obey. In her saying "The teacher is here and is asking for you," Jesus is calling every one of us to resurrection—now in baptismal faith, forever in sharing his victory over death. And all of us, as well as these three friends, are in our own unique way called to special friendship with him.


"Encouraged by so great a cloud of witnesses, we may run as victors in the race before us and win with them the imperishable crown of glory through Christ our Lord" (Roman Missal, Preface of Saints I).

Patron Saint of:

Waiters, waitresses
Saint of the Day
Lives, Lessons and Feast
By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.; revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.


Dear Jesus, I come to you today
longing for your presence.
I desire to love you as You love me.
May nothing ever separate me from You.


Your death on the cross has set me free.
I can live joyously and freely
without fear of death.
Your mercy knows no bounds.


I ask how I am within myself today? Am I particularly tired, stressed, or off-form?
If any of these characteristics apply, can I try to let go of the concerns that disturb me?

The Word of God

Reading 1 jer 14:17-22

Let my eyes stream with tears
day and night, without rest,
Over the great destruction which overwhelms
the virgin daughter of my people,
over her incurable wound.
If I walk out into the field,
look! those slain by the sword;
If I enter the city,
look! those consumed by hunger.
Even the prophet and the priest
forage in a land they know not.

Have you cast Judah off completely?
Is Zion loathsome to you?
Why have you struck us a blow
that cannot be healed?
We wait for peace, to no avail;
for a time of healing, but terror comes instead.
We recognize, O LORD, our wickedness,
the guilt of our fathers;
that we have sinned against you.
For your name's sake spurn us not,
disgrace not the throne of your glory;
remember your covenant with us, and break it not.
Among the nations' idols is there any that gives rain?
Or can the mere heavens send showers?
Is it not you alone, O LORD,
our God, to whom we look?
You alone have done all these things.

Responsorial Psalm ps 79:8, 9, 11 and 13

R. (9) For the glory of your name, O Lord, deliver us.
Remember not against us the iniquities of the past;
may your compassion quickly come to us,
for we are brought very low.
R. For the glory of your name, O Lord, deliver us.
Help us, O God our savior,
because of the glory of your name;
Deliver us and pardon our sins
for your name's sake.
R. For the glory of your name, O Lord, deliver us.
Let the prisoners' sighing come before you;
with your great power free those doomed to death.
Then we, your people and the sheep of your pasture,
will give thanks to you forever;
through all generations we will declare your praise.
R. For the glory of your name, O Lord, deliver us.

Gospel jn 11:19-27

Many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary
to comfort them about their brother [Lazarus, who had died].
When Martha heard that Jesus was coming,
she went to meet him;
but Mary sat at home.
Martha said to Jesus,
"Lord, if you had been here,
my brother would not have died.
But even now I know that whatever you ask of God,
God will give you."
Jesus said to her,
"Your brother will rise."
Martha said to him,
"I know he will rise,
in the resurrection on the last day."
Jesus told her,
"I am the resurrection and the life;
whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live,
and anyone who lives and believes in me will never die.
Do you believe this?"
She said to him, "Yes, Lord.
I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God,
the one who is coming into the world."

or lk 10:38-42

Jesus entered a village
where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him.
She had a sister named Mary
who sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak.
Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said,
"Lord, do you not care
that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving?
Tell her to help me."
The Lord said to her in reply,
"Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things.
There is need of only one thing.
Mary has chosen the better part
and it will not be taken from her."

Remembering that I am still in God's presence, I imagine Jesus himself standing or sitting beside me, and say whatever is on my mind, whatever is in my heart, speaking as one friend to another.


I thank God for these few moments we have spent alone together and for any insights I may have been given concerning the text.

Catholic Meditations

Meditation: Luke 10:38-42

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Saint Martha

Martha, Martha. (Luke 10:41)

Most likely, Martha was already busy with her everyday chores when Jesus and the disciples arrived, but she cared too much to leave these travelers unattended. She just taxed herself even more. So when Martha snapped at Jesus for letting Mary sit at his feet while she slaved away, it was probably because she was already stressed out. Jesus knew this, and he didn't mind. He loved Martha. He accepted her with all of her strengths and weaknesses. And with patience and gentleness, he spoke to her, aproned and anxious as she was, and challenged her to take a different view of Mary's actions.

The issues weighing on Martha were important. But they did not eclipse the most important item: a relationship with God. All the things that Martha focused on needed to be done. But Martha was still learning that time spent in Jesus' presence often brings the peace and clarity we need to accomplish necessary tasks more quickly and efficiently. Jesus didn't fault her for not knowing that, but he did point it out in a way that she could hear and understand.

This is how Jesus deals with us as well: one step at a time. He gives us only as much as we can digest at once, even though it can sometimes feel as though we have swallowed an ice cube whole! Jesus takes us where we are and tries to move us one step closer to his vision for us. He isn't put off by our lack of understanding, frustrations, or other weaknesses. He isn't even upset when we chide him!

Jesus loves you just as much as he loved Martha. And with the same gentle, patient acceptance, he wants to meet you as you are, warts and all. He longs to draw you more deeply into his heart and life. You can trust that he will tell you the truth: about what's important, about what needs to be done, about yourself. And as you choose to spend time in his presence, he will deepen your understanding of the life he calls you to. He will strengthen your faith and fill you with more of his love.

"Jesus, I want to love you and the people around me more deeply. I commit myself to sitting with you to learn how best I can do that."


Jeremiah 14:17-22; Psalm 79:8-9, 11, 13; John 11:19-27 (Alternate Gospel Reading)

In the final question of an interview with Martha in today's 5minutos it asked her: "So what was the better part?", and she replied "the one that claims the depth of our being".
Earlier today I read an exerpt from The Catholic Company - Morning Offering:

meditation of the day
"Avoid worrying, then, about anything else for your children except whatever may contribute to bringing them up virtuously. For the rest, having entrusted them to God, try to see what His will for them is, to help them along the path in life He has chosen for them. Never be afraid of relying too much on Him, but rather seek always to increase your trust more and more, for this is the most pleasing homage you can pay Him and it will be the measure of the graces you will receive. Little or much will be given you according as you have expected little or much."
— St. Claude De La Columbiere & Fr. Jean Baptiste Saint-Jure, p.46

Trustful Surrender to Divine Providence
And it is a trustful surrender that we speak about when speaking of faith.  Who surrenders to God?  Who then, trusts in the Lord?  Jeremiah did as is evident in his plea to the Lord.  Because it is evident that with God, everything, with Christ everything is possible.  How often do we sit in ministries wondering "where is so-and-so? why aren't they here to help or be with us?".  Or we may feel alone in our lives, "it's just me and nobody understands".  We will need a surrender then.  Because it is this mentality that kills.  It never occurred to Martha that she was speaking to the resurrection Himself!  How often do we also pray without knowing that the solution is being prayed to?  Jesus.  She cried in His arms.  This is important, and why?  Because so often we don't cry to God, we cry to one another or alone, but never to God.  She lay it on Him and He brought life to the situation. 
Yesterday evening I went to pray the community rosary.  The day had gone by fine, but when I was leaving, a situation at work made me upset.  This is how I got home, they could tell I wasn't happy.  This is how I went to the rosary, where brother Pepe was laying tile in front of the church and he saw my face and made a comment about it.  "Yeah, I'm angry right now" I said, which immediately I turned into a smile (didn't know I wore my heart on my face).  Father Patrick came running across the street, guess exercising, "don't you have a meeting, eucharistic ministers".  We all looked at each other and said no, we were there to pray the rosary.  He looked into the church through the glass windows "it looks like they have already started praying".  We rushed in there, hadn't seen brother Martin praying alone in the dark in front of the Blessed Sacrament.  I went in there knowing very well I was aggrevated.  The thoughts pursued "have I come in here to pray and make myself feel better?  What about those that made me upset?  Is it then all about me?  No, it's about Jesus".  I prayed for the situation and those that aggrevated me. 
It was left in the Lord's hands and the situation disappeared.
We had friendship group of cursillistas.  I sensed the presence of the Lord.  I gave thanks to God and left with a renewed sense of faith.
Keep in mind, I was a busy body, but I chose the better part.  You see, too often we may identify ourselves in the passage as Martha or Mary, but ours is a story of conversion.  Ours is a story of surrender.  Ours is a search of the soul for the eternal.  Take this day to be busy, but be busy for the Lord.  That there is all the difference.  And when you can, retreat.  Be in the hands of the Lord, in His arms, and feel His loving embrace.  Mary, you are choosing the better part.  Martha needed your example.  What love of God is this?  It is to say, He loves both, before and after.   That is to say, before my conversion, He already loved me, and after, well the difference is that I love Him BACK
"The deeds you do may be the only sermon some persons will hear today."
— St. Francis of Assisi