© Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church 2019


Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinaly Time

July 20-21, 2019

  As we reflect upon the Gospel for today, chances are we can relate to either Martha or Mary in our own lives, as someone who either gets the job done, or is the one who relishes the moment.

 Mary and Martha are real people.  Their brother is Lazarus, the one Jesus later calls forth from the tomb after four days and raises from the dead.  We can relate to them, because what they are, we are as well in the sense that some of us are in charge and are the ones people call when a task needs to be completed, while some of us like to joyfully live in the moment before it passes away.  

 If you have ever invited people to your home for a meal though, then like Martha you know the amount of work it takes to make sure every thing is prepared and that all goes well.  The problem is, it is possible to be so focused on the task at hand, that if you are not careful you will end up ignoring your guests for the sake of making sure everything is properly prepared and you miss the very event you worked so hard to plan and execute.  On the other hand, if we only live in the moment and do nothing to help create an enjoyable evening, then things fall short for lack of planning and guests can leave wondering what happened.

 Martha is so focused on the task at hand and the fact that Mary is not helping her, that she is almost forgetting that it was Jesus who was at her house.  She is ignoring her honored guest and only approaches Him in the Gospel, to ask Jesus to reprimand her sister for not helping.  In response, it probably didn’t help her mood to have Jesus tell her that she, Martha, was concerned about many things, and that Mary had chosen the better part.  

 In Church terms, Martha is living an Apostolic life and Mary is living a contemplative life.  Martha sees needs and gets things done, she is living an active and apostolic life, like the apostles did who through their hard work, laid the foundation of the Church.  Mary is living a contemplative life and in quiet and meditative practice, has removed herself from the world, so that in peaceful holiness can spend time with Jesus and focus on Him and Him alone as He speaks directly to her heart.   

 In our lives of faith, we need a deep and contemplative life of prayer while also having a zealous apostolic life.  There are indeed many ways to holiness in the world and in search of the holy paths, it is important to remember that each of us would best benefit from an experience of faith that is practically speaking, both active, that is, Apostolic and quiet and meditative, in other words, contemplative.  This is where our own personal holiness is found.

 How do we accomplish this task?  Well, practically speaking it can mean, praying in quiet before we start the work of the day.  It can mean praying for guidance during work and praying in thanksgiving for the blessings we have received during the day while also praying for the strength to change the things about our lives that need to change.  Basically, while we work, what ever work we do we need to do it for the love of God and for the building up of the Kingdom of God, be we also need to invite Jesus into our daily lives, so that work is reflected in prayer and prayer is found in work.  

 Jesus is truly present in the world therefore, like Martha, remember to prepare for Jesus through your work and to welcome Jesus into your quiet life as Mary, thus living a life that is both prayerful and an active as a loving, growing people of faith.  

  Rev. John Garcey