Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Distractions and Devotions

Reflections on the Readings
Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time - July 18, 2010 - Year C
Eighth Sunday after Pentecost
By Dennis S. Hankins

Distractions and Devotions

But Martha was distracted with much serving; and she went to him and said, "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone?"

But Martha is distracted.  It is in her distraction that she misses the greater opportunity of her hospitality.  Perhaps others came to the house because Jesus is present.  More food must be prepared, and Martha pleads with Jesus to make Mary help her. Discerning that she is absorbed with anxiousness, Jesus asks Martha to focus on the most important; the good portion, the only, and absolutely necessary thing at that moment.  

We know from John 11:1 that Mary is the sister, as is Martha of Lazarus.  Mary in today's Gospel is the Mary who washed Jesus' feet with her tears and dried his feet with her hair.  Mary is not lazy but neither is she distracted.  She finds her place again at the feet of Jesus.  A place that will not be denied her; it will not be taken away from her.   It is the only necessary thing at that moment; absorbed with the Lord's presence.  Not distracted.  Fully and completely in a moment of devotion. 

We all make the excuses. They run the gamut.  

"After I mow, till the garden, rake the leaves, carry the trash out, go to the store, fix dinner, do the washing, I'll take a few minutes with the Lord."

These are all good things.  They are also distractions if the Lord is last.  Let's see.  How does that go again?  Therefore do not be anxious, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or What shall we wear?' ...Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom and his righteousness...

It is before our Lord where we learn who we are because we learn better who he is.  

He is the one whose ear is never deaf; open my ears, Lord.  

He is the one whose eyes are never heavy with sleep; speak to me even in the night.  

He is the one whose heart is merciful; blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.

For a moment, let's sit with Mary who is sitting at the feet of Jesus.  I can see her looking intently into his eyes, seeking to know better the origin of those eyes that meets hers.  A smile erupts across her face; a joy indefinable fills her.  

A question lays deep within her heart, but before she can bring it to her lips, the Master looks deeply into Mary and answers, "You believe in God, believe also in me.  I will never leave you nor ever forsake you."

Deep calls unto deep.

Mary looks across the room and beckons Martha with her hand. "Come, come Martha, and sit with me.  Sit with me at the Master's feet."
O' Jesus, save me from my distractions.  Cast me not from thy presence.  Take not thy Holy Spirit from me.  You are my portion; you alone my heart desires.  Amen.

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