Work and Pray
Dear Parish Family,
In today’s Gospel, Luke tells us about a time when Jesus was visiting with his friends in Bethany. Most likely Jesus was accompanied by his disciples and perhaps others who also wanted to visit and hear Jesus’ teachings. Martha, the good host, was diligently making sure everything was just right for Jesus and his friends. While Mary made herself comfortable at Jesus’ feet and was eagerly listening.
I often like to imagine myself in the gospels as I hear them and think where I would be. I think I would be like Martha, making sure the house was perfectly clean to receive Jesus. Did everyone have a drink or food, are they comfortable? I take joy in being able to serve, and to be busy, have a purpose. Yet this can be problematic too, because in the desire to be a good host and have everything perfect, I often forget to enjoy the food and miss the opportunity to spend time with the guests. At times I can see myself as Mary, sitting at Jesus’ feet. Just listening intently to every word he would say. Being truly present in the moment, taking it all in, not worried about anything. To place myself in this moment reminds me of the moments I get to experience Adoration. To be in God’s presence, allowing myself not to “Do” anything else other than to just “Be Present.”
When Martha complains to Jesus about Mary not helping, Jesus made Martha realize that in any kind of activity and service to God, faith is essential, so that there is no need to worry and be anxious. One must take time to be still and listen to the Word of God with full faith and trust in His wisdom and providence. We see this in Mary’s attentiveness to the words of Jesus, which fill her with the peace that only Jesus can give, freeing her from all worry and anxiety.
When we are tempted to justify ourselves for not having time to pray by saying, “My work is my prayer,” let us remember this: It is all right to pray while we work, but it is not possible to work while we pray. Before working, we have to pray first so that there is guidance, enlightenment, inspiration and strength from God. If we know we will be very busy on that particular day, the more time we need to spend in prayer. Jesus said: “I am the vine, you are the branches; apart from me, you can do nothing.” So, the question is not, work or prayer? The answer is: prayer and work! Prayer will bless the work of our hands and remind us that ALL our work is meant to build God’s kingdom.
With this said we must also take time to rest and relax. God gave us the example, resting on the seventh day of creation. Bethany was the favorite resting place of Jesus with his dear friends Martha, Mary and Lazarus. The fact that Jesus had a favorite resting place and set of friends illustrates that he is like us
He was very busy, but he finds time to relax and enjoy
the company of friends.
Being busy in life is not an excuse to
forego vacations, days off or moments of relaxation.
Our body also needs some rest in order
to function properly and fruitfully.
Faith Formation Minister
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